Move to fight fraud
Transcription trade groups offer ethics guide
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.”