HIPAA ordered calls exempted under new Telemarketing rules

Under the new regulation for recorded telemarketing calls the pre recorded health care messages covered under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act are exempted from its regulation. From now any telemarketing call that delivers a pre-recorded message as telemarketing option should include a quick and easy way to opt-out of receiving future calls except for calls under HIPAA.

The opt-out clause is put forth in favour of consumers who answer the calls personally and for answering machines or voicemail services receive the calls. This amendment to the National Do-Not-Call Registry was received by FTC in August. Under the new regulations there a consumer should have a facility of opting out of message merely pressing a button or pronouncing a word. And after opting out from that do not call list a customer should automatically be added in the DO NOT Call list of the calling seller or fundraiser.

In case, message is left on an answering machine then in that case the message should be provided with a toll-free opt-out number so a consumer can return answer to that telephone call. Calls to generate sales of goods or services and calls placed by telemarketers to solicit charitable donations have come under this regulation, however,    political calls, bona fide market survey calls, and calls made in-house by banks or telephone companies are not under preview of this commission thus are to be  regulated by previous provisions.

Understanding the HIPAA Privacy Standards

Most people today do not fully understand their rights to privacy and what is all involved in giving them that right. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, has put into effect some rules that must be followed by places such as health care facilities, doctors, and health plans. These covered entities are to use these rules to make sure that personal information is not shared with someone or something that should not have that information.

People should know that HIPAA does not affect a person’s personal access to their own records. If anything it has made it easier to get information. All you have to do is call or write and request it from your health care provider. You may have to sign a form stating that you received a copy of these records. Most places ask for a fee in return for making a copy and mailing it to you (Consumer Rights).It may be harder for certain people to access your personal records but there are still some reasons that do not require your permission in order view your records. The following 12 reasons must be for national priority purposes. (1) Essential Government Functions. These reasons must be required under law, such as, protecting the President, or reasons of national security. (2) Health Oversight Activities. An example of this would be legally authorized health oversight issues, like audits and other health care and government programs. (3) Victims of Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence. To help authorities handling victims of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect. (4) Public Health Activities. In order to prevent certain problems, entities subject to FDA regulation regarding FDA regulated products or activities, to identify persons who have a disease that can spread, and employers who want to know of work related heath issues. (5) Law Enforcement Purposes. There are six reasons for the release of health information to officials, starting with it is required by law, needed to find a subject, a possible victim of a crime, to report a death that may have been caused unlawfully, to report uses of health information that is referenced in a privacy policy, and finally in a medical emergency by a covered health care provider which did not happen on their property. (6) Judicial and Administrative Proceedings. If asked for through a court order or an administrative tribunal. (7) Decedents. To aid a funeral director or a medical examiner in identifying a person who has died, to find cause of death, and other things authorized by law. (8) Cadaveric Organ, Eye, or Tissue Donation. In order to get approval to use cadaver organs, eyes, and tissue for transplant purposes. (9) Required by Law. Covered entities can share your medical information without your permission if it is required by law. (10) Research. To be used in the aid of general knowledge. Researchers must have adequate permission and documentation to disclose any information that may be used. (11) Serious Threat to Health or Safety. May be used is if it is necessary to prevent a threat to a person or the public. (12) Workers’ Compensation. As required by law to supply information on work related illness or injury (6-9) (Privacy Summary). Anything that medical record information is needed to be used for must be required by law otherwise permission must be obtained by the individual.

As of April 14, 2003 all covered entities must comply with the new rules made by HIPAA. The things that need to be addressed, as stated by Phoenix Health Systems, are as follows; building initial organizational awareness of HIPAA; comprehensive assessment of the organization’s privacy practices, information security systems and procedures, and use of electronic transactions; developing an action plan for compliance with each rule developing a technical and management infrastructure to implement the plans implementing a comprehensive implementation action plan, including: developing new policies, processes and procedures to ensure privacy, security and patients’ rights; building business associate agreements with business partners to support HIPAA objectives; developing a secure technical and physical information infrastructure; updating information systems to safeguard protected health information and enable use of standard claims and related transactions; training of all workforce members; enforcement infrastructure, including providing a Privacy Officer and a Security Officer (HIPAA Primer). These guidelines help ensure that medical record information will be kept private and secure from anyone who should not have that information.

Many employees are responsible for handling medical information. That is why it is the responsibility of the covered entity to train their employees on their personal privacy procedures. They must designate an individual to make sure that proper procedure is being followed and if not followed that the correct action is taken. There are a range of fines from $100 to $250,000 and possibly time in jail or prison for disregarding the privacy policy. Employees must be trained before they can do their job as they must learn the policies and procedures that are necessary to carry out their duties (14, 17) (Privacy Summary).By understanding the information that has been given, people will have a better understanding of their right to privacy and the new rules that are involved with that privacy. It is necessary for everyone who handles medical information to follow these new rules. By doing so only the people who are suppose to get the information will get the information. Keeping medical information private is an important issue and these issues have been properly addressed by HIPAA.

Privacy Officer to Take Care of Valuable Data at Colleges

Colleges that are known to be avid center of learning soon may be giving ads for the positions of Privacy officers all over the United States. Each of the colleges in every states of federal America keeps a loath of sensitive data and information about every one on the campus.

Privacy officer, the term that is very popular with corporate world now needs to take care of the sensitive information kept with colleges. However, this trend of CPO is yet not catching up in the United States of America as there are only two CPOs in the list of New York Based International Association of Privacy Professionals from the University of Pennsylvania, and University of Florida.

Though, in recent times the numbers of people interested in Privacy officer job is catching up, nearly every month 100 people are get added into the list of people who are joining into the list of Privacy officers.  And privacy officer is a multifaceted job as it deals into a number of areas from IT, PR. LAW, Custom Relations, policy development and sometimes combination of all.

In order to follow these privacy laws, a college would also have to follow certain privacy law as commonly popular in the United States like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (Hipaa), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Ferpa), and laws on consumer information, which is covered by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. And that compliance does not include state laws and campus regulations.

And the privacy protection is the issue that keeps on rising with span of time in colleges with leakage and breach of important data, hence information security officer thus is instructed with responsibility to check these activities from happening ever again.   The other important role that can be regulated and played by security officer is teaching people about sharing the important data according to classified information for data sharing that can be permissible according the laws to be passed over to other people.

Plan Medical Wishes To Be Completed And Entertained In Time

It is very important for a person to have primary knowledge of legal documentation of health related issues that are also known as directives. These directives help a person to talk about himself, if he has any medical wishes to be accomplished.

The reasoning of getting an adaptable health care on your part is fulfilled by the completion of a “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care” that is also known as “Designation of Patient Advocate” acts. Any case of medical need devoid of the mentioned documentation either can aid seeking process lengthy or can completely hamper the process.

There are many points that come under the preview of “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care” as to seek medical aid and help by a person. Starting with all the very important issues and topics related to health care for a patient, the first important directive is ‘An Appointment of Health Care Agent” also called a ‘Designation of Patient Advocate” that helps a patient to decide over to choose a person to talk on his behalf if he is not capable to make his own decisions. This trusted agent takes care of all the necessary medical needs as required by you to carry out decisions taken by you.

The another set of rules known as “Advanced Medical Directives” decides on a patients behalf whether to choose or neglect important medical services like feeding tube, a ventilator, etc when he is not in position to talk about himself. ‘Anatomical Gift Authorization’ is another set of directives that is created with view that you can donate your body organs to the persons in need or for the research and study purposes. The “Mental Health Care Directive” let your health care agent to take all the decisions related to mental health if you are not in position to take decisions on your own.

Completion of these documents is only a part of the over all scenario and situation rest you should have proper consultations with your loved and dear ones, after consultations and completion of the documents you should keep reviewing them from time to time whether they appropriately carry out your medical wishes. And finally insure that your wishes are made appropriately available to the doctors and hospitals.

What is Disability Insurance?

It is found through many surveys that masses either not have or a little knowledge about short term disability (STD) or Long term Disability plan coverage.  As STD and LTD plans are one of those benefits that are very essential for a company to provide to its employees and you should be well wary of those benefits. So you should have a good knowledge of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Social Security Disability Insurance can be provided to you in case you have availed 40 quarters of Social Security Contributions and suffering from a disability. The Social Security Disability Benefits or SSDI are given to the persons who in recent times should have working experience of 5 years from total 10 years. It has special provision for the people working below the age of 31 years as they may have not much working experience.  According to federal Social Security Disability Act, “disability” means the “       “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months or result in death.”
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is different from Social Security Disability Insurance in essence that it is funded by the general revenues of the Federal Treasury and is put forth with the objectivity of providing at least minimum level of income to persons who are aged, disabled, or blind and requires economic need. To qualify for SSI a person’s current resource limit for an individual is $2000 and $3000 for a couple.
Now comes for the STD, which is an insurance that is provided by an employer. This is insurance that is paid out in a certain amount of money for a short period of time in case of qualifying time for   sick leave, vacation time, paid time off and some other type of qualifying time.  The amount for STD ranges as equal to state’s unemployment payment, to a maximum of about 66% of base pay. LTD or long term disability insurance payment is provided when an employee goes into physical or mental illness that prevents an employee from performing the job for a longer period of time covering the point from commencement of illness. As STD there is also a qualifying period for LTD also. It happens to be of minimum of six months in case of LTD.

HIPAA to AID in Fake Doctor’s Excuse

So in order to get sigh of relief from over burdening of job pressure, it is not ill to seek refuge from the fake doctor excuse for unnecessary job pressure. Simply fake doctor excuse, relives you from the checkups from the company doctor’s whether to check out your medical fitness.
These fake doctor excuses one can get downloaded online and can be edited as according to one’s desire. And these fake doctor excuses to be passed out as original doctor excuses should have medical company’s logo. The chances of getting these fake excuses recognition from the HR department increases when they are backed up by a reputable logo backing it. And there should be address of the medical company that has issued you medical company logo and information.
The contact info should be consisted of address of the clinic, the name of the medical practitioner and contact number of the clinic for call verification. You should next mention of medical problem in form of simplest ailments like severe diarrhea and stomach discomfort without mentioning about the medical history in the medical note.
And above all it is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that protects you from divulging any information to the company’s doctor. Under medical security act all information in the medical note is secret and protected and you can go for well deserved leave.

MeDS, the New Software to Detect Medical Research Data

As the issue of a patient’s privacy was remained well discussed issue since a very long time, virtually, from the start of medical practices. However, in the United States, this concern for the privacy security for patients, finally, entertained and regulated with the act of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) as passed by US congress in 1996.

HIPAA though protect and provide privacy to the medical records of the patient yet the process get mixed up when the medical records are segregated for to develop new drug therapies, novel medical treatment, for the bigger causes like preventing epidemics and other life threatening hazards for whole mankind.

In a recent study discussed in the September-October issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Jeff Friedlin, D.O., of the Regenstrief Institute, Inc. and the Indiana University School of Medicine, provided a new computer program that have resolved the issues of  privacy vs. public good.

As according to Dr Friedlin a new Medical De-identification System (MeDS), a highly accurate and speedy computer software program has been developed and successfully tested by him for de-identifying patient information while preserving the important data input to medical research.

In Medical research, it is expected that a huge number of data is needed for the purpose of studies that data should be protected to a greater extent. This software termed as MeDS can classify data as from the records of history and physicals, discharge notes, laboratory, pathology and radiology reports.

As this software symbolizes deleted data in a manner a researcher can acknowledge something important has been taken out without telling about the nature of data in due  course that has been picked up out. In terms of efficiency this software can bring out that hefty medical data merely in 2 minutes that a human would take 6 hrs to segregate. It can also capable of detecting and eliminating misspelled names.

Online Medical Record Keeping Firms – Helping You to Get Organized

As to aid one in getting one’s medical records well aided and accumulated a number of online companies have come to fore front as with programs which allows a user to become more organized  and keep as much medical information as necessary for his or her medical records.

With the help of online programs it is expected that a number of prescriptions to diagnoses can be kept at home with online medical records however within the preview of HIPAA. These programs are easing task for Americans as now what they have to do is to provide their medical records and name of the doctors to the agency that can do entire task appropriately and according them.

This would help one to organize things in great way and manner as now the health records would be agency with an equal access between your doctor and you. And records for different ailments you would have at the same place, easy to diagnose with interconnectivity of medical records.

And as online sites do not come under the preview of HIPAA as an exemption to internet you can avail record keeping services from these online medical record keeping firms.

Experts predict federal law on medical ID theft

It is expected that in United States after the presidential election new congress seems to be in mood to bring a new proposal to strength federal law to combat medical identity theft. Medical identify theft is developing into a new type of crime in American soil where fraudulent activities cost billion of dollars to health care system at the same time they threatens the well being of the thousand of people whom medical identity gets stolen.

We are going to see legislation, probably in 2009, that addresses this in some way,” as told by Marcy Wilder, a health information law expert and partner at Washington law firm Hogan and Hartson. He made these remarks at a Medical Identity Theft Town Hall meeting sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

As far as new law does not come into enforcement it is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) assures the strongest legal remedy against medical identity theft, Wilder told further on. The laws related to identity theft are in regulation at   40 states, however, Arkansas, California and Delaware have special provision under which medical information can be passed further on.

Under present prevailing laws including HIPPA a person can view the contents of his or her medical record to judge accuracy of that information. So checking information on a preview of medical theft is not a fraud.

Some New Modifications under HIPAA

Whatever, may be the implications and provisions of the HIPAA, but the most important issue still debated in HIPAA is about communication of the health information among friend and family members of the patients has been remained very crucial since the formation of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).

HIPAA to some extent has made it frustrating experience for the family members and friends of patient to get all the relevant information. Any person can be despondent and frustrating when he fails to achieve information about his near one who is hospitalized. However, the new guidance as issued by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services may bring some transparency in distributing a patient’s information to his near and dear ones.

Under the new regulation, a patient’s information can be shared by health service provider face to face, over the phone, or in writing with closed ones of the patient. And moreover there is no necessary for a patient’s close one or anyone who is paying on the behalf of patient to produce and identity proof. It is the left upon the health service provider how it establishes a person’s identity whether to provide him with any information or not.

Here are the following changes.

•    Patient Guide: When Health Care Providers May Communicate About You with Your Family, Friends, or Others Involved in Your Care
•    Provider Guide: Communicating with a Patient’s Family, Friends, or Others Involved in a Patient’s Care