Why You Need a Website Privacy Policy

 

Today we're talking about website privacy policies and why it is required that you have them. We are also covering what website privacy policies do to protect you, how you can create them, and how you can place your policy on your website so that your website and your business is protected and professional. 

What is a Website Privacy Policy?

Before we get into the details of website privacy policies, you need to know that they are not the same thing as HIPAA's Notice of Privacy Practices. You are probably familiar with HIPAA's Notice of Privacy Practices, which allows patients some disclosures of their rights regarding what you're doing with their protected health information. This applies to medical professionals only. A website privacy policy is designed for anybody with a website, whether the website's content or services are medicine, law, or even knitting.  So, while they are similarly named, they are separate and distinct. 

Basically, a website privacy policy is...

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A "Secret Tool" for You

 

Today I am sharing with you the one tool that you need which will grow your practice to seven figures in three days!  Okay, obviously that's a bit of hyperbole, but I DO have a special tool to recommend for you, and it's absolutely free. It can make you wealthy. It can bring you peace of mind. It can make sure that your business is healthy. It can make your life happy. The tool I want to talk about today is your brain and your gut. Do you realize that you already have the power to do all the things that you need to do and to achieve success?

Shiny Object Syndrome 

I was talking to some providers recently, and it's a common thing, not just for providers but for entrepreneurs, to get distracted by the shiny new tool or this little software widget here and think, "Maybe if I just sign up for this, some of my problems will go away...or I'll have more money... or more time..." It's hard to resist all these tools, especially because they're doing a good job marketing. But...

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What is a HIPAA Policies and Procedures Manual?

 

It’s time for everybody's favorite subject when it comes to medical practices: HIPAA and HIPAA compliance!

 

So, I know it's not your favorite. I know it's not my favorite either but it's something we've got to do, much like paying taxes and paying bills. Let's find out how we can do it wisely and review what you need to do to comply with your HIPAA obligations.

 

Once you set it up, maintaining compliance is, at times, easy, but also easy to forget. So, as we're approaching Independence Day weekend here, let’s take this opportunity to get our compliance requirements in check.

 

Why during a holiday weekend?

Typically, at my wife's practice, we see a little bit of a slowdown as families go on vacation and patients aren't necessarily around, particularly now that people are going on vacations again. So what I recommend to all of my providers is to take a few hours this weekend or one of the days in this slow period in the first week of July, and the July 4...

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Patients' Rights to Access Records Under HIPAA

 

Today we are talking about a growing trend in HIPAA enforcement by the Department of Health and Human Services, and by extension, the Office of Civil Rights that enforces HIPAA and all of its regulations. 

Important Info

HHS has recently announced its 19th enforcement action on patients' right to access. For the past year or so, they have put a big emphasis on patients having the right to access their PHI or their designated record set. Therefore, you should be aware of some of the basic rules. This should serve as a refresher or reminder, and if you're currently unaware of these rules, you will need to pay close attention as well, and update your policies and procedures accordingly. If you don't already have written policies and procedures for HIPAA privacy and security rules, it is a requirement under HIPAA, so if you don't have that yet, reach out to us. We have a template at FunctionalLawyer.com, so get your procedures in place as soon as possible because that is a...

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Know Your Standard of Care

 

Today we are covering: what is "standard of care," why it's important to you as a medical professional, and more importantly, how you can stay within your standard of care and make sure that you're not subject to any unwarranted liability. 

When Does Duty Call? 

Amongst physicians or lay people, they usually talk about malpractice in terms of being any unskilled, bad, or negligent treatment that causes injuries to the patient. That can be an action that you take, or an omission that you do not take, in your care of a patient. So, how do we determine if your actions or omissions are bad, unskilled, or negligent? We come up with a “standard of care.” Before we get to that definition, we have to go backwards and ask, “To win a lawsuit, what does the plaintiff have to prove in order to win?” 

In most states, the plaintiff has to establish that the professional owed a “standard of care” or a “duty of care” to that...

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HIPAA: Can I Email Patients?

 

Today I am giving you a quick HIPAA update and tackling one of the most frequently asked questions that I get daily from my members. I've counseled most of them on this, and now it's time to share the information with you. 

The recent, current question that practitioners are always asking me is, "Can I email my patients?" In other words, does HIPAA allow you to email your patients? The answer from HHS is a qualified yes, but I would say it's a qualified no from me. Let's take a look at these differences.

Read the Fine Print

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has an article first published in 2008 (last refreshed in 2013) that says the Privacy Rule does allow you to email patients, even for health issues and treatment plans, which would traditionally be PHI (Protected Health Information). Also, according to HHS, unencrypted email is not prohibited and is allowed. However, the same article also references the reasonable safeguards you...

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The Practice of Medicine

 

Today, I want to help you decide how you're going to expand your practice or reevaluate how your practice is currently set up so that you can avoid committing crimes and going to jail. That may sound intense and scary, and while I do not mean to scare you, I do want you to know what your risks are. When you are sitting down to conduct your risk analysis, are you covering all your bases? Or, are you leaving areas open to potential illegalities?

You may have set up your practice based upon how others have done it, or you may have just done what you wanted in terms of setting up and expanding your practice. You have to be careful here. You need to know what the actual limitations and rules are so that you can work within them and even work within those areas that are not catching up to speed. When it comes to telemedicine specifically, the industry is far outpacing the regulators. In other words, they haven't made laws to catch up with the advancement of technology and the...

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Can a Health Coach Order Labs?

 

"What can health coaches do?" And, more specifically, "Can health coaches order lab tests and interpret them?"  These are some of the most frequent questions I get at Functional Lawyer, and today I'm going to give you my answer, some additional information, and what you can do about it if this is something you're planning to implement in your practice.

What Does a Health Coach do?

Before we jump into the details, we first need to define what health coaches actually do and what their job description is. Health coaches are part wellness-expert, part mentor-cheerleader, part accountability-buddy, and part psychological toolbox or life-hacks-giver who assist others to make better choices. Basically, health coaches support and act as behavior-change specialists, and they help bring people out of their ruts or encourage them to change certain habits. Health coaches can be helpful in that they respond in ways that are not judgmental or aggressively negative, especially...

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Is it Worth the Risk?

 

I went Live on Facebook last Friday to answer a few questions that providers continue to have.  I have had so many responses and follow-up questions to last Friday's Live session, and I thought it would be beneficial to post the Live video and reiterate the helpful content.   (Please note that the Live recording lags for just the first 20 seconds of the video.)

Recently, during my Functional Lawyer Membership Office Hours, I was talking to a provider who wanted to register her telemedicine practice in Florida-- because Florida allows for out-of-state practitioners to do so, as long as they have a license in good standing in another state. (If you need more information about this, you can go to www.functionallawyer.com/florida , and there is a step-by-step guide for you.) The provider I was helping had a good question, and one that often comes up: "What about insurance?"

Are you certain you're covered? 

The ins and outs of insurance are not always...

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What is the Scope of a Health Coach?

 

The number one question I have been getting recently is, “What is the scope of a health coach?”

A lot of doctors, chiropractors, NPs, etc. are frustrated by their licensure because they want to move freely around the country and practice medicine, but it is illegal to do so if you are not licensed in the state in which your patient is located.

It can be frustrating to see licensed practitioners who are labeling themselves as “health coaches” in order to give medical advice and treat patients, which is also illegal.  Equally frustrating are health coaches who are acting as doctors and prescribing treatment while actual licensed professionals' hands are tied in fear of losing their license by helping someone out-of-state. 

Be Careful!

The myth that is going around is that you should just call yourself a “health coach” or a “consultant” so that you can do whatever you want wherever you want. While it is...

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