Move to fight fraud

Tran­scrip­tion trade groups of­fer ethics guide

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Joseph Conn

The med­i­cal tran­scrip­tion in­dus­try, rep­re­sented by its two trade groups, is pre­par­ing for what it sees as the pos­si­bil­ity of height­ened pri­vacy, se­cu­rity and fraud en­force­ment: It’s come up with its own guide­book of ethics and best prac­tices.

The As­so­ci­a­tion for Health­care Doc­u­men­ta­tion In­tegrity, or AHDI, an as­so­ci­a­tion of med­i­cal tran­scrip­tion prac­ti­tion­ers, for­merly known as the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion for Med­i­cal Tran­scrip­tion, and the Med­i­cal Tran­scrip­tion In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, the trade group for tran­scrip­tion ser­vice providers, have re­leased their Man­ual of Eth­i­cal Best Prac­tices for the Health­care Doc­u­men­ta­tion Sec­tor.

The re­lease of the full guide­line is timed to co­in­cide with the Med­i­cal Tran­scrip­tion In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, an­nual con­fer­ence April 28-May 1 in Day­tona Beach, Fla., said Peter Preziosi, CEO of the two or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Scott Edel­stein, a Washington-based lawyer in the health­care law prac­tice at Squire, San­ders & Dempsey, was the lead author of the man­ual. Strin­gent pri­vacy and se­cu­rity pro­tec­tions in the Amer­i­can Re­cov­ery and Rein­vest­ment Act of 2009, or stim­u­lus law, and the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act will likely yield more govern­ment en­force­ment ac­tiv­i­ties, Edel­stein said. The stim­u­lus law in­cludes new breach no­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­vi­sions and em­pow­ers state attorneys gen­eral to en­force Health In­surance Porta­bil­ity and Ac­count­abil­ity Act of 1996, or HIPAA, pri­vacy laws, while the re­form leg­is­la­tion in­cludes in­creased fraud-fight­ing sec­tions.

And that prompted the groups to take a pro-ac­tive ap­proach in pro­duc­ing the man­ual. “I think just gen­er­ally, the tone for this ad­min­is­tra­tion is go­ing to be in­creased in en­force­ment, be­cause there is in­creased sen­si­tiv­ity for pri­vacy of in­for­ma­tion,” Edel­stein said.

“Most of the com­pa­nies in the med­i­cal tran­scrip­tion in­dus­try tend to be small mo­mand-pop op­er­a­tions, but they’re han­dling such sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion,” he said. “The con­cern is that some of these com­pa­nies may not have taken all the mea­sures needed un­der HIPAA and fraud and com­pli­ance laws, and this man­ual was to pro­vide guid­ance for them.”

The man­ual of­fers a best prac­tices check list, copies of the codes of ethics of both or­ga­ni­za­tions, guides on billing prac­tices and the rules on hir­ing em­ploy­ees vs. in­de­pen­dent contractors, ac­cord­ing to the AHDI web­site.

Such guid­ance doesn’t come cheap: Copies of the man­ual cost $4,000 for non­mem­bers of the two as­so­ci­a­tions, with prices rang­ing be­tween free to $750 for Med­i­cal Tran­scrip­tion In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers and $750 or $950 for AHDI mem­bers.

Edel­stein: “There is in­creased sen­si­tiv­ity for pri­vacy of in­for­ma­tion.”

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