HIPAA, ICD-10 Among 6 Compliance Trends That Will Affect You in 2014

January 6, 2014 – In The News
Medical Practice Compliance Alert

Michael Kline and Elizabeth Litten were quoted in the Medical Practice Compliance Alert article “HIPAA, ICD-10 Among 6 Compliance Trends That Will Affect You in 2014.” While the full text can be found in the January 6, 2014, issue of Medical Practice Compliance Alert, a synopsis is noted below.

Medical practices face several compliance challenges in 2014. This article explores predictions of what to expect made by professionals in the field.

HIPAA enforcement activities and litigation will increase. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has stated that it will aggressively enforce HIPAA, especially since the rule implementing much of the HITECH Act went into effect September 23. This increase in enforcement coincides with the jump in mobile device use, electronic health record adoption and online scheduling, which will cause digital patient data to be less secure since providers will have less control over it, warns Kline.

Complying with HIPAA is increasingly being used as a “best practice” in state courts, and patients are winning damages. “People [will] learn that they can sue [for privacy and security breaches]. This area is growing,” Kline notes.

Whistleblower activity will increase. “[Former National Security Agency contractor Edward] Snowden will encourage people to whistle blow,” says Kline. “A trusted consultant can have an employee that decides whistleblowing is the right thing as a matter of public policy,” he explains.

The Affordable Care Act will create billing compliance difficulties. The ACA loophole that allows for unpaid care for health exchange patients gives patients a three-month grace period before the insurance policy is canceled. It is still unclear when and how practices can bill patients directly once insurers determine the patients are no longer covered, putting practices at risk of not only revenue loss but violating debt-collection practices, warns Litten.

Meaningful use audits will increase. The federal government has paid more than $1.7 billion in incentives to providers under the Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use program. “The government will start audits to get a lot of this money back,” says Kline.