HME News

OCT 2017

HME News is the monthly business newspaper for home medical equipment providers. This controlled circulation publication reaches 17,100 home medical equipment services providers, including traditional HME dealers & suppliers, hospital- and pharmacy-o

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Smart Talk 12 www.hmenews.com / october 2017 / hme news patient data hipaa security t ap into this resource By Ryan Ball Q. What does the law say about using patient data in your marketing efforts? a . The HME community has faced many challenges over the past few Guard against exposure By E BB a Blitz Q. What is the financial damage to a company following a data breach? a . A breach is an incident in which an individual name, plus a Social Security number, driver's license number or a medical or financial record, is potentially put at risk due to exposure. For firms in the medi- cal industry, the cost for not pro- tecting patient data is astronomical. According to the Office for Civil Rights, some $17 million in HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) viola- tion settlements have been paid out in 2017 alone. Some of these settle- ments include: 4 $2.4 million – paid by Memo- rial Hermann Health System, a non- profit health system in Texas 4 $2.5 million – paid by Cardio- Net, a wireless health services pro- vider in Pennsylvania 4 $5.5 million – paid by Memo- rial Healthcare System, a nonprofit medical facilities operator in Florida 4 $387,000 – paid by St. Luke's- Roosevelt Hospital Center Inc. (formerly Spencer Cox Center), a provider of comprehensive health services to persons living with HIV or AIDS, in New York. Breaches are up almost 30% from this time last year, and, what's more, the latest reporting from the Identity Theft Resource Cen- ter (ITRC) shows that of the 900 data breaches from January-August of 2017—associated with some 16 million records—more than 25% are within the healthcare/ medical industry. Penalties of this sort make the true cost of not protecting data clear to everyone. When fines can run into the millions, it can be fairly said that "an ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure," especial- ly when it comes to healthcare IT security. hme Ebba Blitz is CEO of AlertSec. Reach her at ebba@alertsec.com. years, from competitive bidding to bundled payment initiatives and audit programs. Providers are left assessing all available options to generate more business and find new revenue streams. HME providers must focus on creat- ing a strong, efficient marketing operation to communicate with referral sources and directly to patients. While many providers don't realize it, there is a new potential revenue stream already at their fingertips: patient data. Medicare supplier standards governing the use of patient data and an HME provider's ability to use it in mar- keting efforts have caused many to simply stay away out of confu- sion or fear of violating Supplier Standards. This column will dis- cuss the rules, what to avoid and best practices. w hat does the law say? Suppliers are prohibited from making unsolicited contact with a Medicare beneficiary (including phone, email, computer, instant messaging or in person) unless one of three exceptions have been met: 4 The beneficiary has given written permission to the supplier to contact them about an item 4 The supplier has previously provided a Medicare-covered item and is contacting them about that item 4 The supplier has, within the last 15 months, previously provid- ed at least one Medicare-covered item to the beneficiary. Integrating a beneficiary autho- rization into your new patient onboarding process is a great way to begin building your patient market- ing database. Particularly for items that require timely resupply or pair well with retail items, marketing additional products and services has proven effective in engaging addi- tional interest from patients already receiving equipment. hme Ryan Ball is director of VGM Market Data. Reach him at ryan.ball@vgm. com.

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