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GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services #loan #modification


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We Get Healthcare

GE Healthymagination Fund

An equity investment fund focused on identifying, partnering with and growing highly promising healthcare technology companies.

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Healthymagination

Seeking to build stronger relationships between patients and doctors to gather, share and discuss imaginative ideas.

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Success Stories

GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services provides long-lasting financial solutions that help healthcare organizations thrive and grow. See how we have created value for our customers.

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Health Information Management, Find Career – Salary Info, healthcare information management salary.#Healthcare #information #management #salary


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Career in Health Information Management

Healthcare information management salary

A career in health information management puts you at the center of the exploding fields of health care and technology. As a health information management professional, you are the expert on patient data that doctors, nurses and other health-care providers rely on to perform their jobs. By maintaining, collecting and analyzing health information, your work makes an important contribution to the delivery of high quality care.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Medical and Health Services Managers.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Health information managers design and manage health information systems to ensure they meet medical, legal and ethical standards. Depending on their title or work setting, specific job responsibilities vary. Some typical responsibilities include the following:

  • Collecting and analyzing patient data
  • Ensuring that patients medical records are complete and accurate
  • Ensuring records are only available to those directly involved with a patient s care
  • Managing and maintaining databases
  • Designing, generating and analyzing reports for administrators and physicians

Job Titles

Based on their skills, level of education and interests, health information managers may hold a variety of titles. With a bachelor s degree, these may include the following:

  • Department director
  • System manager
  • Data quality manager
  • Chief privacy officer
  • Consultant or teacher

With an associate s degree, titles may include the following:

  • Health data analyst
  • Insurance claims analyst
  • Records technician specialist
  • Clinical coding specialist
  • Physician practice manager
  • Patient information coordinator.

Accredited health information managers enjoy a broad selection of job opportunities and options for professional growth.

Health Information Management Workplace

Health information managers work in a multitude of settings throughout the health-care industry:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician s offices
  • Home health agencies
  • Nursing homes
  • Public health offices
  • Insurance companies

Education and Training

Accredited health information management programs are offered at more than 200 colleges and universities across the U.S., and many programs offer online health information management degrees. Health information managers must complete either an associate s or bachelor s degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

Licensing and Certification

After completing a two- or four-year program, candidates for employment will need to successfully complete a certification exam to validate their competence. Depending on education level, candidates can seek one of two credentials in the field:

  • Those who have completed a bachelor s degree program typically pursue the Registered Health Information Administrator or RHIA credential. In addition to a four-year degree, this certification requires successful performance on the RHIA certification exam.
  • Those who have completed an associate s degree program pursue the Registered Health Information Technician or RHIT credential, which also requires passing an exam. RHITs are health information technicians who ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy and proper entry into computer systems. RHITs often specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research.

Texas Medical License Lawyer, Attorney, Professional License Defense #texas #medical #license #lawyer, #attorney, #tx, #texas, #medical #license, #professional, #license, #defense, #healthcare, #austin, #leichter, #medical #board, #corporate #law, #administrative #law, #law #firm


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  • High dismissal rate for TMB and state board complaints
  • Former TMB Attorneys & State Prosecutors
  • AV-RATED and Peer Reviewed Attorneys by Martindale Hubbell
  • Firm Attorneys include Board Certified Specialists in Administrative Law, Labor and Employment Law, and Criminal Law
  • Approved in-network counsel for major Texas insurance carriers

Call for a FREE consultation

Texas Medical License Lawyers

The Texas medical license lawyers of the Leichter Law Firm PC are devoted to the legal representation of physicians, medical professionals (i.e. nurses, pharmacists, and dentists) in administrative licensing and healthcare matters in both state and federal disputes, regulatory inquiries and investigations, criminal defense and healthcare related transactions. We are a physician/clinician-friendly firm, and do not represent entities who have filed a complaint and caused an investigation by a regulatory body or board which could result in a restriction of the provider to engage in their ongoing profession. We have made this choice decisively, despite financial incentives to represent interests adverse to those the firm believes are paramount to the delivery of safe and effective healthcare to the public at large. In short, we do not represent hospitals, but focus on the provider, who we believe is the mainframe and ultimate differential that distinguishes the delivery of optimal medical care.

Since our inception, we have successfully represented vast numbers of physicians, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, and psychologists (etc.) in both disciplinary and post-disciplinary licensure matters involving judicial review and rule challenges with successful appellate decisions issued by the Supreme Court of Texas and/or the jurisdictional Court of Appeals/District Court from which the matter was adjudicated. Additionally, we have successfully handled multiple transactional disputes and negotiations with medical staff matters/hospital peer review, the organizational structuring and licensing of pharmacies and other healthcare related entities, and transactional disputes and litigation on behalf of our clients. We are particularly versed in handling Physician / Texas Medical Board complaints which involve either standard of care or behavioral concerns including chemical dependency, intemperate use cases and boundary violations. Inclusive of these files is the relationship to the standard/quality of care provided by the physician, non-therapeutic prescribing, the inadequate maintenance and documentation of medical records. We have also successfully handled and resolved multiple psychiatrist/physician sexual boundary violations resulting in the physician s ability to continue to see patients without the loss of their license or other restrictive prohibitions which would render their practice impossible.

If you are in danger of being disciplined by your medical or professional licensing board pursuant to an ongoing complaint or investigation, then please contact the experienced and recognized Texas medical license defense lawyers of the Leichter Law Firm PC as we stand ready to advise, counsel and defend you with regard to your healthcare-related legal concern(s). To discuss your case with one of our attorneys today, please contact us by calling (512) 495-9995.

For information regarding current legal issues particular to your case, the Texas Medical Board, Texas Board of Nursing, or your licensing agency, please read through this site and visit our blog: www.txmedicallicensinglaw.com. Additionally, contact one of the firm s lawyers for information specific to your legal problem -we offer a free initial telephone assessment and individual personal consult if necessary.

Practice Emphasis

Our boutique litigation practice is devoted to the legal representation of physicians and other licensed professionals in a variety of aspects relating to their practices and professions. Focusing its attention on Professional License Defense, Administrative, Health, and Criminal Law, The Leichter Law Firm is able to draw upon its experience in these areas to provide quality client representation. The firm is located in downtown Austin, Texas.

Contact Us

To discuss your particular case with one of our experienced and compassionate Texas professional license defense attorneys, please contact us today by calling (512) 495-9995.


Canadian Undergraduate Conference on Healthcare #modern #healthcare


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CUCOH

Welcome to the Canadian Undergraduate Conference on Healthcare

HOsted by QUeen’s University

The Canadian Undergraduate Conference on Healthcare (CUCOH) is a three-day conference that enables undergraduate students to engage in hands-on workshops, discussions and seminars that showcase the multidisciplinary nature of healthcare. Not only is CUCOH the largest conference at Queen’s University, but it is also the largest student-run healthcare conference of its kind in Canada. Last year, CUCOH was pleased to welcome over 375 undergraduate students from 21 universities across Canada.

CUCOH is committed to providing our delegates with a rewarding and eye-opening experience. We strive to select a diverse range of speakers, seminars, and discussion topics that are representative of some of the most pertinent and complex healthcare issues. Delegates engage in a wide variety of interactive workshops, including: suturing, casting, laparoscopic surgery, examining cadavers, and more!

Our 13 th annual conference will focus on the theme, “Medicine in the Modern World,” and will be held at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario from November 10 th -12 th. 2017. Our goal is for delegates to gain an understanding of what a profession in the healthcare industry involves—innovation, collaboration and a pursuit for improvement. It is our hope that tomorrow’s healthcare professionals begin fostering these qualities today, especially in light of an increasing demand for capable and well-rounded professionals that will make a difference in the Canadian healthcare industry. It is in this spirit of collaboration that we bring you the 13 th annual Canadian Undergraduate Conference on Healthcare.

We look forward to seeing you at CUCOH 2017,

Chair of CUCOH 2017

“. PARTICULAR ATTENTION WILL BE PAID TO DEVELOPING AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE INTELLECTUAL AND POLITICAL CLIMATES OF THE HEALTHCARE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH TOMORROW’S PROFESSIONALS WILL BE WORKING.”

WHAT’S OUR MISSION?

  1. Present a cohesive overview of the current state of Canadian healthcare and explore specific areas of future change, especially those relevant over the ten years.
  2. Increase the exchange of knowledge between professionals and students from across Canada by facilitating interdisciplinary discussions and debates.
  3. Encourage student research (at the undergraduate and graduate level) in the sciences through a poster and an oral competition.
  4. Present a broad perspective of the Canadian medical sector by introducing a range of topics that highlights the diversity of health-related professions.
  5. Initiate a well-informed and proactive generation of leaders by providing early involvement in diverse health- related professions which will better shape the future of Canadian healthcare

Edwards Electronic Processing – Central Florida-based Medical Billing Agency, claim processing in healthcare.#Claim #processing #in #healthcare


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claim processing in healthcare

Claim processing in healthcare Claim processing in healthcare Claim processing in healthcare Claim processing in healthcare Claim processing in healthcare Claim processing in healthcare

MEDICAL BILLING SERVICE EXPERTS

Services including Benefit & Eligibility Verification, Electronic & Paper Billing/Claims, and Claim Status.

BUILD YOUR PRACTICE WITH US

Constantly challenging ourselves to deliver more to our clients

WE HAVE YOU COVERED

Check Out Our Frequently Asked Questions For Common Questions About EEP.

Who is Edwards Electronic Processing (EEP)?

Since then, EEP has grown to serve a multitude of different kinds of providers and different kinds of situations. EEP has built partnerships with its clients and strives to maintain effective and efficient partnerships with insurance companies and organizations. EEP makes it a mission to serve its clients in the best way possible. We try to be flexible and understanding and adapt to different billing situations and requirements. In our tenure, we’ve seen and experienced many changes in the healthcare community. We always promise our providers that we will keep them informed and ahead of the changes to the greatest extent possible.

Everyone at EEP takes their promise to our clients very seriously and works to ensure the best possible service to each client. We enjoy our jobs and do not shy away from any new challenge or regulation. We are here for you for any question possible, and will work to help you finish any project, even if we weren’t the ones who started it. We believe open communication is key to our success and yours and we hope to use our knowledge and service to help build your practice.

Our EEP Family of Professionals

Claim processing in healthcare

Edwards Electronic Processing (EEP) is a Central Florida based Medical Billing Agency. Located in Orlando, we have provided billing solutions to many practices from independents to large groups for over 25 years. EEP’s main focus is client satisfaction and we strive to make sure that our clients get great, personal service. Some of our clients have stayed with EEP for the whole 25 years!

What differentiates us from other billing agencies is the personal service you will receive from each individual at EEP. We like to ensure our clients receive consistency, quality, and accuracy. We work primarily with Florida practices and have a lot of experience in the Florida Medicaid program and a good understanding of Florida’s healthcare statutes. We make it our mission to be the best billing agency in Florida!


Careers at Self Regional Healthcare – Self Regional Healthcare #spartanburg #regional #healthcare #system


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You can work anywhere and make a living. But work at Self and you ll make a life.

Why? Self Regional Healthcare is well respected in the region and the state as an organization committed to continually advancing care for the communities we serve.

Become a part of the team today. Check out the available positions and apply online. If you d like more information, contact Human Resources at (800) 859-0599.

The Lakelands region provides ideal living conditions: great climate, affordable cost of living, not to mention close proximity to lakes, big city shopping and entertainment, historic towns and some of the greenest golf courses imaginable. Did we mention it s a great place to raise a family?

Nestled within the rolling hills of South Carolina s Upstate region, Greenwood enjoys small town appeal without being small.

The city center boasts the widest Main Street in America, providing fine dining, fine arts, cultural and historical experiences, theatre, an Uptown Farmer s Market. library and high fashion shopping all within a two-mile stretch. Small business organizations and shop local campaigns support the city s successful revitalization of the uptown district.

For casual living, The Bypass offers a selection of more modest restaurants, a multiplex movie theatre, shopping mall, department stores and superstores.

If you re an outdoor enthusiast, you will be glad to explore the hiking trails and sculpted shores of Lake Greenwood State Park.

On the lake itself, enjoy watercraft events, fishing tournaments, live music, fireworks displays and other events from the active lakefront community.

Annual festivals and special events will take you through the seasons:

Springfest in April Greenwood s newest festival, Springfest, is a celebration of local music and art, featuring local bands and musicians on two stages, an art fair lining the street, with food and drink available from local vendors.

SC Festival of Flowers in June More than 40 topiary animals are on display throughout the month, and you can enjoy concerts, garden tours, wine tasting, workshops, community theatre, craft fair, sporting events and much more.

Festival of Discovery: BBQ Blues in July professional and amateur competitive BBQ teams take over Main Street for three exciting days of competition and tastings, while a lineup of incredible blues musicians play on festival stages and in local restaurants and bars. Also features an arts crafts fair, Kidzone, food vendors and rides.

Within its intimate neighborhoods, Greenwood is home to quality elementary education options, several parks and playgrounds and Lander University. Within the county there are many expanding industries including Fujifilm, Eaton and Colgate.

Situated only an hour away from four metropolitan areas, Greenwood is close enough for excursions, but far enough away to maintain a pollution and crime free atmosphere. Within three hours drive are the Atlantic Sea Coast, Charleston, S.C. Charlotte, N.C. Asheville, N.C. and Atlanta, providing an abundance of vacationing, cultural and shopping opportunities.

Even with all that, it s still Greenwood s southern grace that makes it an ideal community to live in.

Uptown Greenwood city center living, dining, and events
Greenwood Area Chamber of Commerce local businesses and organizations
Visitor s Bureau information for visitors, special events, and tourism
Connect Lake Greenwood lakeside living, special events, lake community

Latest News


Central Texas Veterans Health Care System #central, #texas, #veterans, #health, #care, #system, #affairs, #vamc, #medical, #center, #temple, #waco, #austin, #brownwood, #bryan, #college #station, #palestine, #cedar #park, #lagrange, #va, #hospital, #healthcare, #va


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Central Texas Veterans Health Care System

Stay Informed

TRAFFIC CHANGES: Additional changes to traffic flow along with construction detours to our Temple main site with start on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. The intersection South 5th Street at Avenue U will be closed for several weeks to work on another phase to update area roadways. Estimated completion time is the middle to the end of August pending weather conditions. The recommended route from the southwest and west (east and north bound from I-35 and Loop 363) will be to take South 31st Street to Avenue R to access the facility. The secondary route will be take the 5th Street exit and follow the detour signs to 7th Street to Avenue R. Click here for map.

Starting Monday (Jan. 16, 2017), TxDOT will close the eastbound Loop 363 turnaround to north Spur 290 (1st Street) and the southbound 1st Street ramp to eastbound Loop 363. The closure is for a project to make a signalized interchange at the intersection of 363 and 290. Completion is expected spring of 2018. Click link for recommended routes: TxDOT Map

Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act

VETERANS BEWARE: The official VA Choice Program telephone line is 1-866-606-8198. There is a very similar telephone number (1-800-606-8198; THIS IS NOT A VA NUMBER) being used by scammers attempting to gain credit card information from Veterans. VA will never ask for your credit card information as any type of incentive.

SCAM ALERT: Police Departments in the Central Texas area are warning residents, especially the eldery and Veterans, about fraud scams. The Police believe those receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs are being targeted. Veterans or others in receipt of VA benefits should know that VA will never call you to get your personal, credit or bank information. If you believe you have been a victim, please contact your local police department to report the incident, whether or not those responsible were successful or not in stealing money.

VA Notice – Texas Concealed Handgun Law and the new Texas Open Carry Law (Effective Jan. 1, 2016DOES NOT APPLY to VA property. No firearms or weapons are allowed on our VA controlled property. Any confiscated firearms will be destroyed and offender will appear before Federal Court. Only certified police officers in the commission of his or her duties may bring a firearm onto VA property. Texas concealed and open carry handgun laws DO NOT apply to VA property.

Local Features


Earn the CHAA Credential – National Association of Healthcare Access Management #healthcare #it #certification #programs


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Congratulations on taking the first step toward earning the Certified Healthcare Access Associate (CHAA) credential. The National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM) established the CHAA program to promote the highest standards of patient access services through the credentialing of those working at the front lines of patient access.

Payment Information:
$125 for members and non-members. Complimentary CHAA study guide made available when payment is received.

REFUND/DATE CHANGE POLICY: as stated in the Candidate Guide to Certification. only in the case of personal illness, natural disaster, or death in the family will a refund/date change be issued free of charge. You must contact NAHAM within your assigned testing window in order for this to policy to apply. If you are unable to take the exam and DO NOT meet the above requirements, please fill out an Examination Date Change form to switch your testing window for a $50 fee.

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Master Degree in Healthcare Administration #master #degree #in #healthcare #administration, #master #degree #in #healthcare #administration


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Offering the flexibility of online education and support for military students.

International

Learn more about becoming an international student at University of Atlanta

Corporate Partners

Our Corporate Partners provide their employees and students with education opportunities.

Current Students

Resources for current University of Atlanta Students

Working Adults

Every day, talented individuals are proving it’s never too late to think about the future.

Transfer Students

Learn about transferring your previously earned college credits to University of Atlanta

Alumni

University of Atlanta is dedicated to the support, engagement, and involvement of our graduates.

Online Campus

Explore our website to learn more about University of Atlanta

Master of Science
Health Administration

The Master of Science in Healthcare Administration program seeks to develop professionals who understand how to manage non-profit, for-profit, and voluntary health care organizations in effective and innovative ways. The program focuses on the need for health care administrators to be continuous learners, critical thinkers, and ethical practitioners by recognizing the multiply-constructed nature of human, social, and organizational realities and the complex relationships between the system of health providers and the needs of the community. Students will analyze the role of health care in society, the managed care model, the need for client-centered models, alternative paradigms, and the development of health organizations in a broad array of communities. Courses integrate theoretical concepts with practical applications. The program is designed with effective professional leadership skills and the ability to develop and implement solid, creative solutions as its central objectives.

  • Apply critical thinking and reasoning skills to identify problems and to develop problem-solving abilities within the business context.
  • Develop potential, enabling them to face the future with confidence and determination.
  • Prepare for leadership and service within a broad spectrum of business and business-related arenas.
  • Acquire the tools specific to business processes and procedures and the capacity to understand the principal theory, significance and practical applications related thereto.
  • Develop a solid understanding of the functional components of business – economics, marketing, accounting, finance, law, management, thus enabling the graduate to assume managerial trainee and like positions, in which they will have the occasion to grow and develop further.
  • Apply theoretical knowledge to the solution of real-life (field related) problems both individually and through teamwork within the context of a variety of active learning environments.
  • Develop strong communication skills with due emphasis on the tools of effective writing.

Graduates in Administration will be suitably prepared to assume management trainee positions in the corporate sector, in industry, in government, in other professional arenas – or, alternatively, to assume enhanced responsibilities within the context of a currently-held position. Those who so elect will be academically prepared to pursue graduate studies in business or in a wide array of related disciplines.

Improve your Career standing

  • UOFA students gets professional knowledge that is distinguished and renowned accepted across the world.
  • Students of UOFA are offered handsome salary packages by reputed companies across the world

Study and Discover

  • Our courses give a great exposure to students to a great number of researches and latest technological advancement.
  • Studying at UOFA encourages innovative and self-governing thinking of students and professionals.

Graduates in Administration will be suitably prepared to assume management trainee positions in the corporate sector, in industry, in government, in other professional arenas – or, alternatively, to assume enhanced responsibilities within the context of a currently-held position. Those who so elect will be academically prepared to pursue graduate studies in business or in a wide array of related disciplines.

Study and Discover

  • Our courses give a great exposure to students to a great number of researches and latest technological advancement.
  • Studying at UOFA encourages innovative and self-governing thinking of students and professionals.

UOFA offers accredited degree programs to working adults globally. Our programs are accredited to ensure that our students are accepted and recognized globally through their academics.

  • UofA faculty comprises some of the brightest minds in academics as well as industry. These leaders have devoted their time and expertise to the university to design a curriculum that supports the busy life styles of today’s working adults.

  • Our intensive focused programs provide the opportunity for you to explore specific topics in-depth on a daily basis. We provide you the flexibility to design your own academic schedule.

    – Urgent Memo –

    Message from the Administrative Board

    To all current and prospective students:

    As part of our efforts to combat fraudulent activities perpetrated against the University of Atlanta and its student body, please be advised of the following:

    1. The UofA only uses official channels in all communications with students. As such, we will never phone you except in an emergency situation and even then, by prior arrangement. The UofA does not utilize social media of any description to contact its students. Specifically, we do not use media such as Whatsapp, IMO or any other SMS platform to contact students.

    2. The Uofa will never resort to calling you to demand payment for your program of study nor would we harass you in any way for any reason

    3. The UofA encourages all students to be ware of fraudulent activities perpetrated by certain individuals who are in no way connected with us but who engage in criminal activities in attempts to defraud our students.

    4. For your sake, please, do not send money through any means, to anyone that claims to be from the UofA. You should only send money following an official notification and as agreed between you and the UofA for your program.

    5. UofA is currently working hard to be fully accredited once again with the relevant authorities. Any calls or communications from any one claiming or soliciting your transfer to a different university for the purposes of accreditation or any other purpose is fraudulent and should not be entertained. If you receive such calls, please, hang up or ask the caller to send an official email. If you do stay with the caller, do so long enough to obtain basic information from them, then, hang up and dial our fraud hotline to report it and verify the authenticity of the call

    6. Should you find yourself at the receiving end of any suspicious activity, please, do not become a victim. Instead, hang up and dial the Chamblee Police station or report the matter to a special Crime Hotline at the UofA. The number is 630 800 2139.

    Remember, we all have a duty to protect ourselves. Do not become a victim. Do not allow criminal activities to flourish at your expense. The UofA takes all such activities serious and will take steps to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.

    Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay safe.
    __________________________
    Administrative Board
    University of Atlanta
    5522 New Peachtree Road, Suite 114
    Chamblee, GA 30341-USA


  • Emerging Issues: The Privacy of Medical Records #arthritis,asthma,behavior,bioethics,cancer,diabetes,new #treatments,heart,nutrition,aging,women’s #health,other #topics,kids,dieting,exercise,healthcare,infections,men,public #health,sports #medicine,gastro,addiction,anxiety,autoimmune,depression,senior #living, #emergencies,migraine,mind,pain,stress,stroke,diet,emotional #health,fitness,sex,sleep,travel


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    Emerging Issues: The Privacy of Medical Records

    Within the past two years, a substantial amount of attention has been paid to the issue of the privacy of patient records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make recommendations to Congress on ways to protect the privacy of medical records. Secretary Shalala submitted her proposals to Congress on September 11, 1997. The National Academy of Sciences and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners have issued recommendations of their own. Senator Robert Bennett (R. – Utah) has circulated draft legislation entitled the “Medical Information Confidentiality Act” that may well be the focus of congressional action.

    Two developments account for this flurry of interest. The first is the growth of electronic medical record-keeping in place of paper records. The National Academy of Sciences report states that the health care industry spent between $10 and $15 billion on information technology in 1996. Much of this expenditure is attributable to creating electronic records systems and converting conventionally stored data to electronic formats.

    Electronic medical records (“EMRs”) appear to present new threats to maintaining the privacy of patient-identifiable medical records. An EMR can be called up instantaneously by someone with access to the data system and the relevant passwords. Although a paper record can be photocopied and faxed, it is less easy to distribute widely, and requires physical possession for accessibility. Computerized records systems are “black boxes” to many health professionals who are otherwise familiar with traditional records systems; they fear losing control of the systems and having to rely on computer experts who may not have internalized the privacy-related ethics of the medical profession. At the same time, one hears proposals to link all medical records systems so that patient data can be accessed wherever and whenever patients require medical services. This raises the prospect that access to one portion of one record may afford access to all records on an individual.

    The Managed Care Conflict

    A second reason for the increased concern over medical records privacy is the growth of managed care organizations. In the traditional, fee-for-service model of health care delivery, patient records would be produced and retained by the physician or other provider of services. The patient’s health insurer would be given access to selected records needed for claims review. Disclosure of the records required patient authorization, although, typically, patients executed these authorizations automatically and in blanket fashion. In a managed care organization, on the other hand, the provider of care and the insurer, in some sense, are the same entity. Any medical information in the possession of the provider also is held by the insurer. This is clearest in a closed-panel HMO like Kaiser but is present, to a varying degree, in all forms of managed care.

    The fear here is that the insurer will gain access to medical records that the patient and the provider would not normally transmit and that the insurer will use the data to take action adverse to the patient’s interest, such as limiting benefits or terminating the patient’s insurance coverage.

    Special problems are created by employer-sponsored health plans. Here, the plan is essentially the same entity as the employer and the concern is that the employer will have access to medical information possessed by the health plan and will use the information contrary to the employee’s interests, such as to terminate employment.

    The basic solutions that are being proposed are, first, to require record makers and keepers to implement a set of technical steps to protect the security of medical records and, second, to impose penalties on makers and keepers of records who release them for unauthorized or inappropriate purposes.

    Technical steps being touted include unique patient and access identifiers; “audit trails,” which are electronic methods of detecting and recording the identities of anyone who accesses a record; encryption of external transmissions of record information; appointment of internal information security officers with responsibility to police record-keeping practices; and “firewalls,” which are electronic barriers that isolate records systems from unauthorized access or penetration.

    The problem is that these techniques are expensive and no one is sure how well they work. I received a glimpse of how unrealistic these solutions might be at a meeting on medical records privacy I attended as a member of a joint working group of the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“JCAHO”) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (“NCQA”), the organization that accredits managed care organizations. One member of the working group, the person in charge of medical records at a large managed care plan, pointed out that neither she nor anyone else in her organization knew what records existed or where they were! She suspected that this was likely to be true of most managed care plans and provider organizations. Moreover, she explained that the greatest single threat to the privacy of medical records was post-it notes: people jotted down their passwords and pasted them on or near their computers. The more passwords, personal identifiers and other electronic steps a person had to take to access records, the more these little reminders would be necessary, rendering the fancy security techniques ineffective.

    Some of the other issues that are being debated by policy-makers include:

    • Whether to require patient enrollees to authorize each release of medical records or only to require them to give a blanket release, say upon enrollment. Advocates of blanket releases argue that requiring a signed authorization for every record release would be burdensome and most patients don’t care. Proponents of individual authorization respond that this is necessary to alert patients that their records are being disclosed so they can take steps to prevent inappropriate disclosures.
    • Whether to establish uniform standards or minimum standards. Managed care organizations and other record makers and keepers like uniform standards because it tells them clearly what they have to do. Some patient advocates propose minimum standards to enable plans to compete for enrollees on the basis of how well they maintain privacy: plans that adopted more stringent security measures could publicize this fact to potential enrollees who have a choice of plan.
    • Whether to enact a federal law that pre-empts stricter state laws. A uniform law would facilitate interstate business by allowing a managed care plan to comply with one standard nation-wide. But some patient advocates urge that states be allowed to adopt more stringent security requirements, if only to permit experimentation to see what works best at protecting privacy.
    • How much control to give patients over what goes in and what stays in their medical records. Most privacy proposals would give patients the right to correct inaccuracies in their records but not to delete material. Some patient advocates argue that patients should have the right to block the entry or remove information that they fear would stigmatize them or lead to insurance or employment discrimination. Health care professionals are concerned that incomplete records could interfere with proper medical management. Patient advocates respond that, so long as the incomplete records are marked as such, patients should be permitted to weigh the risks of stigma or discrimination against the risks of a reduced quality of care.

    There is almost certainly going to be federal legislation on medical record privacy. But this will not end the debate. Accreditation organizations such as the JCAHO and the NCQA will establish their own standards; managed care plans and provider organizations will adopt their own internal policies and procedures. Meanwhile, the science of electronic records and their security will develop, presenting new options and challenges. Stand by for further reports.

    NOTE: We regret that we cannot answer personal medical questions.