LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Compliance with accreditation facilities and medical practice standards are crucial for the success of a pedorthic facility. Matthew Almeida, CPed, Limbcare Prosthetics and Orthotics in Albany, Ga., discussed common compliance issues at the Pedorthic Footcare Association Annual Symposium and Exhibition, here.
“Compliance is one of the number one problems many practices have,” Almeida said. “And there are a couple of different areas that you need to stay in compliance with, and, of course, that’s your facility accreditation compliance, ABC or BOC, Medicare compliance, state and local compliance. The key is to keep yourself informed.”
This is especially important for complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) rules and regulations, which can be more difficult to understand.
“I can’t stress HIPAA enough,” Almeida said. “HIPAA addresses all issues concerned with saving, accessing or sharing medical or personal information of an individual, and it’s our job as practitioners to make sure that that patient’s information is kept safe and secure.”
With the increasing prevalence of electronic medical records (EMRs), it is important that practitioners are addressing the risks presented. According to Almeida, patient data should be safeguarded with passwords and/or encryptions and computer systems should be evaluated for data leaks and secured with proper firewalls and effective antivirus software. Off-site back-up programs should also be utilized in case of physical damage or theft of computer systems.
It is also important to understand the compliance rules for electronic records because they will soon become the norm in the O&P industry.
“We are getting to the point where the electronic health record is going to be the way things have to be,” Almeida said. “This mandate in 2015 is only for hospitals and physicians, but it is coming for us, as well. So if you are not using any kind of EMR or EHR, I highly recommend that you start looking into it now, because it will get to the point that if you are not using some kind of EMR, Medicare will not pay you.”
For more information:
Almeida, M. The successful operation of a pedorthic business. Presented at the Pedorthic Footcare Association Annual Symposium 2012. Nov. 1-3, Little Rock, Ark.