Baby Boomers and Healthcare Jobs

Hard to believe but the Baby Boomers reached retirement age in 2011.  Having officially joined the aging population, more medical care is required, thus more healthcare workers.  Because of the significant increase, the industry is looking at where they will recruit the new workers since so many of the older ones will be retiring. For those who think they are over the hill, there is good news — it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that workers 50 or over will be used because of their experience and the willingness to actually work.  AARP reports that 35% of the U.S. labor force will be 50 or older by 2022, an increase of 10%. Since older workers have largely been discriminated against, that’s great news.  Somewhere along the line, it was determined that older workers cost more and were not as productive, which of course was totally off the charts misinformation.  They are well known for their work ethic which is far more important in terms of productivity than what they might cost in insurance benefits. They are dependable and reliable, the last of the greatest generation along with the boomers.  The turnover is less too than the younger worker statistics. Companies are hiring older works and providing training programs as well. So, if you are an “older person,” don’t wait another minute to get trained for healthcare jobs.  A great place to start looking is www.med-certification.com where a variety of training is available at very affordable prices.  Just do...

Affordable Health Care 2015 Data

So, a year later, what’s the story on the ACA? 15 million Americans† who didn’t have health insurance before the ACA was signed into law are now covered, bringing the total uninsured adults in the US from 18% to 13.4%. During the year many dropped their plans, or didn’t yet renew them for 2015. Still, for open enrollment in 2015, there is a hint by the numbers that a larger number of total enrollees are anticipated.   Enrollment is expected to increase as people†respond to subsidies and to penalties for failure to†obtain coverage (imposed by the Internal Revenue Service). Arguments rage among the pundits about the actual numbers, suggesting that more people have dropped their plans because they can’t afford it, and that the coverage is not that good.  With deductibles as high as $6,000, before insurance pays anything is questionable. What about those penalties if you didn’t enroll? The IRS reports that 7.5 million tax filers paid the $200 penalty for no insurance for the year 2014.  Seventy six percent (76%) checked the box on the form showing they had insurance, about 76%.  Twelve million had exemptions.  Five million didn’t check the box so no information on those but IRS is sending them letters to amend their tax returns.  In all, the IRS said it has collected $1.5 billion on those penalties. Who paid for the insurance coverage? 2.7 million people had $9 billion in subsidies, the average for which was $3,400, with 40% claimed less than $2000 in subsidies, and 40% $2000 to $5000, with 20% $5000 or more. Want to learn more about insurance and how it...

Chocolate Rules!

Chocolate lovers benefit is proven. Findings of the Norfolk Study (with 155 participants) show that regular consumption of chocolate decreases cardiovascular risks, including strokes. This was a 12 year monitoring project with the people in the test group eating 7 grams or more per day (some in the study group ate much more than that, up to 100 grams per day). Higher levels were associated with lower CV risks. The higher intakes projected an 11% lower risk and 25% lower in associated death. Hospital admission likelihood was 9% less. Other related observation showed that chocolate eaters were actually healthier. They had lower weight, more energy, were more active with physical activity (a major factor in reducing CV events, e.g., stroke, heart attack), less alcohol consumption. It was also interesting that fewer of the study group developed diabetes. The flavanols in dark chocolate stimulate the endothelium (lining of the arteries) which helps lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate is the most beneficial though the lighter ones still work. Chocolate is derived from cacao beans which are loaded with minerals and antioxidants. Dark chocolate has 11 grams and for the average RDA has 67% iron, 58% magnesium, 89% copper, 98% manganese, and potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. It is recommended that the chocolate contain at least 70% dark chocolate. Oh, happy day! Rejoice chocolate addicts! But, don’t overdo...

Electronic Medical Record Software

Once Electronic Medical Records EMRs were mandated, vendors put together a variety of software options. Now there are dozens of vendors with a variety of products ranging from $400 per month to several thousand dollars. One of the EMR vendors does not charge anything at all (it is truly free) for using its EMR, Practice Fusion, a free, cloud-based EHR. It is the most popular for small practices since the economics to purchase higher priced systems doesn’t work very well. Practice Fusion rates very well with comparable products too and is in the top 10. The primary function of an EHR system is to integrate the patient information to other providers and facilities, to include labs, pharmacies, referring physicians, etc. Of course, patients are the most important part of health care, so good medical software gives them access to tools and information to help improve their care, including a patient portal where patients can perform a variety of tasks, such as requesting appointments, get copies of medical records, and access educational resources. The EHR solution was supposed to meet government regulations, particularly the Meaningful Use (Medicare) which has created such a nightmare for providers even though the government provides financial incentives for implementation. A workable system was ideally supposed to link with outside systems and provide online access to those directly involved with a given patient’s care. And of course that integration would then allow practices to meet government regulations and guidelines. As we have reported previously, a real quagmire is now the operational standard since all of those independent vendor products cannot communicate with each other, thus we...

MEC – Minimal Essential Coverage

Yet another acronym.  MEC, Minimum essential coverage.  Everybody knows you had to have health insurance in 2014.  At tax time, new questions on the tax return.  Did you have health insurance?  If you did, your insurer will give you a Form 1095A (Health Insurance Marketplace Statement – HIMS) to file your return.  If you had coverage from another source, like a job, Medicare, Medicaid, or a plan you bought outside the Marketplace: You’ll report this simply by checking a box on your federal income tax form You won’t have to fill out any additional tax forms You won’t get a Form 1095-A No Coverage? If you didn’t have health coverage for 3 months or more in 2014, one of the following will apply to you: You’ll qualify for a health coverage exemption. You’ll pay a fee when you file your 2014 federal income tax return. If you didn’t have health coverage for all of 2014, you’ll pay the higher of: An amount that depends on your income. Generally it’s 1% of your yearly household income above a certain amount – $10,150 for an individual, $20,300 for a married couple filing jointly. $95 per person who didn’t have coverage ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum fee per family using this method is $285. Then if you still don’t get insured, next year the penalty for non-coverage in 2015 is the higher amount of 2 percent of your yearly household income, covering the amount above $10,150 for an individual), or $325 per person, or $162.50 per child. If you owe, you can still get insurance for 2015 if: You didn’t...

HIPAA Audits

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is the bible for protection of health information. It is not surprising that HIPAA audits are on the rise. Patient complaints are the number one driver behind being chosen for a HIPAA audit. A review of typical violations helps medical office staff to fully understand how their duties and interaction with patients are so critical to make sure the office is in compliance with the law. Here are the most typical violations: Watch the information authorization expiration date since patients set that date on their signed records. Watch for potential missing signatures on all registration documents (releasing information without a signature is major) Timely providing patient information requests ñ remember the right to receive electronic copies on demand. Caution with disposal of patient records ñ shred them Passwords to authorized users to prevent snooping from visiting family or employees who might look at records without authorization. Releasing information to an undesignated party (only the exact person(s) listed on the authorization form may receive patient information. Releasing unauthorized health information, e.g, the wrong document that has not been approved for release. A patient has the right to release only certain parts of their medical record. Releasing wrong patient’s information due to name similarities Right to revoke clause – Any forms a patient signs need to have a Right to Revoke clause or the form is invalid. Therefore, any information released to a third party would be in violation of HIPAA regulations. Unprotected storage of private health information. Think about sticky notes, medical charts, checks, etc., sitting on the front desk for all to...