HIPAA Privacy Requirements: Serious business

In the past year, the Office for Civil Rights, the federal office responsible for enforcing HIPAA privacy requirements, has finalized the rule by which all covered entities and their business associates are required to protect the personal and health information of patients they serve. The rule details the actions a breach of the privacy rule […]

Parity Act Slow to Catch On

In January 2011, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that nearly 90 percent of Americans have never heard about mental health parity or of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. In a survey conducted for the APA in December 2010 by Harris Interactive, 89% of those surveyed said they had not heard about […]

Integrating Behavioral Health into the Healthcare Home

One of the many provisions included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (health care reform law) was the creation of pilot programs to integrate all health care services into a Health Home. The development of the ‘medical home‘ concept will be most important among those with complicated health concerns and in vulnerable populations. […]

Healthcare Reform in 2011

Count on the National Council to keep us informed about Health Care Reform and how it might impact us as individuals or organizations. On January 6, 2011, The Council sent out their Public Policy Update giving a brief overview of the features of the law that will be implemented in 2011. Even as the new majority in the House of […]

How’s Your Compliance Program Coming Along?

Last week I attended a webinar sponsored by The National Council: Healthcare Reform Expands Compliance Requirements: Prepare Now.  There is a recording of the presentation at the link above. I attend lots of webinars to try to stay informed about what is happening in our industry. As indicated by the fact that I often write […]

Primary and Behavioral Healthcare Integration

On Monday the National Council announced that they have won a competitive grant to provide training and technical assistance to move forward the process of integrating primary and behavioral health care services. They will provide support services and assistance to organizations that have received grants to develop integrated care within their organizations, as well as to other organizations seeking […]

It’ll Never Happen To Me…

This week one of our customers experienced a “happy ending” to a very unhappy story. We thought we would share it with you. They were sure they had a good backup. When their server hard drive crashed, they were distressed but not terrified. Instead of dealing with the loss of all their data, it merely meant […]

OpenNotes Project: Where does mental health fit in?

On Monday of this week, Seth asked me if I had a topic for my current blog. As I had none at hand, he pointed me to last week’s episode of the podcast/NPR show, Science Friday. Seth is a regular subscriber to this series and I listen when I find the time. That effort is […]

The Healthcare Experience….Firsthand

Six weeks ago, I started writing this post. I think it is time to put finished to it. The second half of May and first half of June were a challenging time for us. Two elderly parents had acute medical needs at the same time in different cities. Both were hospitalized, one in a critical care unit. […]

Managed Care Organizations Oppose Parity

An organization called the Coalition for Parity, Inc. comprised of managed behavioral health organizations (MBHOs) has filed suit to halt the implementation of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Dominici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. This group has as some of its members Value Options, Magellan Health Services Inc., and Beacon Health Strategies Inc. As reported […]

Bits of News for Behavioral Health Providers

I have recently noticed several pieces of news that I thought would be of interest to providers of behavioral health services and others. 1. The National Council Public Policy Update of April 8, 2010 pointed out an important change in timely filing requirements for Medicare claims: Requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act makes (sic) […]

Health Care Reform and Behavioral Health

On March 21, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Subsequently, they passed the Reconciliation Act  (H.R. 4872) making changes in the original bill. After some maneuvering, all the necessary legislation was passed by both houses of congress and on Tuesday, March 30, 2010, President Obama signed the Healthcare […]

Get Out of HIPAA Jail Free

Consider a couple of nightmares that might easily come true: 1. Your laptop, with a variety of documents and files containing confidential, protected health information on its hard drive, is stolen from your car, hotel, or disappears while you are traveling. 2. Your office is burglarized and all the desktop computers, as well as a […]

Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care

The September 29, 2009 edition of NJAMHA Newswire reports on a trend appearing strongly in New Jersey and in many other states: attempts to provide primary care treatment at the behavioral health setting or alternatively, to integrate behavioral health treatment into the primary care setting. In fact, the National Council, the major membership organization of community behavioral health care providers, has […]

ICD-10: How will the change affect your life?

Last week I attended a webinar hosted by Healthcare Informatics about the transition to ICD-10. The webinar was sponsored by Cognizant Technology Solutions and was presented by Janice W. Young from Health Industry Insights and David Hamilton of the Healthcare & Life Science Practice at Cognizant. I am fond of the webinars hosted by Healthcare Informatics. They allow […]

Healthcare Reform: Where does mental health fit in?

I was all set to write an article on various health disorders and their cost. Then I got frustrated. You see, I started reading the original articles upon which the news/opinion articles I was using as reference were based. I found very rapidly that the figures being used in the articles were comparing different things…some […]

Yoga: Physical and Mental Health

Those of you who read this blog regularly might remember that in July I decided to take a more active role in addressing the neck and back pain that is a regular part of my life. I started taking a yoga class. In August, I added a second one. I was all set last week to […]

Meaningful Use & Behavioral Health Providers

I have been avoiding writing about the second draft of the Meaningful Use of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) definition released by the federal Health IT Policy Committee on July 16. I had been hoping I would hear something that would make me believe the definition would in some significant way benefit our customers. I am […]

Prevention & Self-Care: Essential to good health

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my experience of incapacitating back pain while on vacation. Today, I woke up feeling great. My visit to my chiropractor and massage therapist was unusually positive; my muscles were not in spasm and my spinal alignment was pretty good. It is clear that the things I have been […]

U.S. Healthcare…Privilege, Poverty and Pain

This is my second day back in the office after vacation. Yesterday and this morning were filled with catching up. That will take most of the rest of the week to complete. I decided to share an experience and some reflections before I get too removed from them. While on vacation, my back went out. […]