Breaking Compliance News Blog

What are you doing to keep the lights on?

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 9/21/21 9:15 AM

This blog was also posted on The Compliance & Ethics Blog, the national compliance blog published by the Health Care Compliance Association and the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics.

 

A few weeks ago, a storm came through the St. Louis area. Wind gusts that reached 41 miles per hour snapped telephone poles in half, toppled trees onto power lines and transformers, and left more than 100,000 people without power. We ended up throwing out everything in our fridge. And then everything in the freezer. And then the fridge itself, which did not survive the power surge.

Despite the widespread damage and outages, our power was restored in 48 hours – pretty quickly compared to prior outages. In 2006, a storm left 1.1 million people without power. The outage took a week to fix, and the extreme heat brought 300 Missouri National Guard troops to St. Louis to help with the effort. Several years later, a winter storm left many without power during bitter cold for a week.

And then something changed.

Cities and power companies began a widespread effort to trim trees whose branches loomed over the power lines. Everywhere I turned, I saw tree trimmers hard at work. Years later, I still see this work being done regularly.

Storms still come, and the power still goes out. But it comes back on much sooner! Is it because of the maintenance to lessen storm damage to power lines? Have the storms been less severe? Or is it a combination of both?

Regardless, everyone sleeps a little better during a storm knowing that everything possible has been done to mitigate the damage and keep power systems running. The proactive response to our region’s severe power failures has made these outages far less disruptive.

What is true for bad weather is true for compliance: things will go wrong – and your routine compliance maintenance can minimize the disruption:

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Topics: Culture of Compliance, compliance

Free webinar: HIPAA Security Risk Analysis!

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 9/14/21 10:54 AM

 

Sign up for MPA's FREE Compliance & HIPAA webinars:

All webinars are 11:00 a.m. CST - 12:00 p.m. CST

 

October 20, 2021: HIPAA Security Risk Analysis!

The HIPAA Security Risk Analysis is required by law, extremely helpful for reducing security risk - and very daunting. It's a lot of work, but well worth it. MPA will walk through what the Security Risk Analysis is, why you need one, and some practical tips to get you started on your own SRA.

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We hope you will also join us for September's webinar:

September 29, 2021: MPA Answers Your Burning Compliance Questions

Got a burning compliance (or HIPAA) question? We will send out an email asking for your questions in advance. We'll also take questions live, and go over our most frequently asked compliance and HIPAA questions. Get your questions answered on September 29!

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Topics: Training and Education, HIPAA, compliance

Free webinar: HIPAA Security Risk Analysis!

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 8/31/21 10:54 AM

 

Sign up for MPA's FREE Compliance & HIPAA webinars:

All webinars are 11:00 a.m. CST - 12:00 p.m. CST

 

October 20, 2021: HIPAA Security Risk Analysis!

The HIPAA Security Risk Analysis is required by law, extremely helpful for reducing security risk - and very daunting. It's a lot of work, but well worth it. MPA will walk through what the Security Risk Analysis is, why you need one, and some practical tips to get you started on your own SRA.

SIGN UP

 

We hope you will also join us for September's webinar:

September 29, 2021: MPA Answers Your Burning Compliance Questions

Got a burning compliance (or HIPAA) question? We will send out an email asking for your questions in advance. We'll also take questions live, and go over our most frequently asked compliance and HIPAA questions. Get your questions answered on September 29!

SIGN UP

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Topics: Training and Education, HIPAA, compliance

TikTok Terror

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 8/18/21 9:30 AM

A North Carolina Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) was fired from a nursing home after she posted a series of videos on TikTok. The videos included the following phrases:

  • “I’d unplug your vent to charge my cell phone.”
  • “Me waking my patient up at 6:55 am to make sure they didn’t [sic] die from all the drugs i gave them to make them go to sleep”
  • “Me on my way to give my patients drugs so WE can get some good sleep tonight”

Wow.

It is not a surprise that the statement the nursing home issued about her termination stated:

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Topics: HIPAA, Social Media, abuse, skilled nursing, compliance

Sign up for MPA's FREE compliance and HIPAA webinars!

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 8/17/21 9:45 AM

 

Sign up for MPA's FREE Compliance & HIPAA webinars:

All webinars are 11:00 a.m. CST - 12:00 p.m. CST

 

August 25, 2021: HIPAA Lessons from the Headlines

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September 29, 2021: MPA Answers Your Burning Compliance Questions

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Topics: Training and Education, HIPAA, compliance

* Guest Blog: My Quarter Problem by Adam Turteltaub

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 8/11/21 9:30 AM

This week's blog was written by guest blogger Adam Turteltaub, CCEP CHC, Chief Engagement & Strategy Officer for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics. This blog was orginally published on The Compliance and Ethics Blog. Not reading the Compliance and Ethics Blog? Check it out.

There’s a quarter sitting on my desk. It’s been there for over a year at this point. It’s a problem quarter.

How did it get there? One day I took a bucket of change to the Coinstar machine to get all those coins turned into an Amazon gift certificate. While the machine was happy to gobble up all the other quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, it wanted nothing to do with that one quarter.

I couldn’t figure out why at first, and then I noticed it’s from 1956, which makes it one of the rare things in my life that is actually older than I am.

I figured it must be different enough from modern quarters that the machine rejected it. So, I put it in my pocket, figuring I would just spend it in a parking meter.  But then, on the way home, I thought to myself, “I wonder if, given its age, it may be worth something?”

So, I did a quick search on the internet and found out that it’s worth its weight in silver. As I write this, that’s about $4.60.

And that’s my problem.

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Topics: compliance

Is your compliance program misbranded?

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 7/20/21 9:00 AM

This blog was also posted on The Compliance & Ethics Blog, the national compliance blog published by the Health Care Compliance Association and the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics.

 

One thing I missed during the lock-down days of the pandemic was traveling. Family vacations, of course, but also work travel. For example, several times I have flown to San Antonio, Texas to speak at a healthcare conference. I love visiting the Alamo and eating lunch at La Panaderia.

The last time I visited San Antonio, while walking from my hotel to La Panaderia, I saw a storefront with a green sign with gold letters that read: “SNACKS / WAX HANDS.”

As an outsider, I was befuddled: What is going on in this building? I am always up for snacks – but what are wax hands? Are wax hands the snacks??? I hope not.

Then someone I met in town explained the concept to me.

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Topics: compliance

What’s worse: a bad policy, or no policy?

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 7/13/21 9:15 AM

The CEO of a group of pain clinics was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in a $150 million health care fraud scheme. He was also ordered to pay $51 million in restitution. 

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Topics: compliance

Do your staff understand the damage done by a HIPAA breach?

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 6/29/21 10:13 AM

Psych nurse gabs with TV news

In 2009, a Massachusetts man was charged with the murder of a college student at a café. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was committed to a state psychiatric hospital for 60 years.

Eight years later, a nurse at this psychiatric hospital told the news that dangerous patients were playing violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto. The story made the TV news – with significant consequences. The man who was acquitted of murder charges in 2009 sued the hospital, claiming the nurse’s comments prevented his transfer to a building with lower security. He also claims the TV news story caused him distress and emotional pain and suffering and damaged his therapeutic progress.

Privacy breach leads to assault

A rape victim was treated at a Kansas City hospital, where she received a rape kit examination. Afterward, one of the hospital’s X-ray technicians allegedly used the patient’s medical information to warn the rapist that the victim is accusing him of rape. The victim has since filed a lawsuit against the hospital for wrongfully releasing her health information to the alleged rapist. According to the lawsuit, after she was released from the hospital, her alleged attacker harassed her with threats, texts, social media posts, and then attacked her again. The lawsuit asserts claims based on invasion of privacy, negligence, and fiduciary duty, and seeks financial and punitive damages.

HIPAA breaches ruin lives

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Topics: Training and Education, HIPAA, compliance

Stop ordering chips at the rx drive-thru window

Posted by Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC on 6/15/21 9:30 AM

This blog was also posted on The Compliance & Ethics Blog, the national compliance blog published by the Health Care Compliance Association and the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics.

Not too long ago, I stopped at the pharmacy drive-up window to pick up a prescription. While patiently waiting in her car seat for me to complete the transaction, my preschooler looked at the pharmacy technician behind the window and said: “I would like chips, please.” She thought we were at the OTHER drive-up window – the one belonging to Breadco (in St. Louis, we call Panera “Breadco.” It originated in our town, and we will not adapt to its new name). At Breadco, we order sandwiches with “chips, please.” The pharmacy employee was very nice – and explained that, as a pharmacy employee, she cannot provide chips at the drive-up window.

This got me thinking: Of course you can’t get chips at a prescription pick-up window. Not all stores are the same. Not all drive-up window personnel do the same things. This is an honest mistake for a preschooler. It’s also a mistake in business and one that happens far too often. Are we asking the right people to do the right things?

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Topics: compliance

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