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Ransomware Hackers Target Medical Billing Companies

Ransomware Hackers Target Medical Billing Companies

Ransomware hackers target medical billing companies, and it CAN AFFECT your entire company! (Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.)

Often out of one’s control, ransomware hackers target medical billing companies because of the tremendous value of the data. BUT, there are steps that CAN BE TAKEN to protect you, your company, and your patients and/or clients.

 

NetWalker Ransomware, for example, gained notoriety for targeting hospitals and healthcare providers with e-mails claiming to provide information about COVID-19. (The e-mail usually has an attachment that downloads the ransomware from a remote server when clicked on.) The thing is, this is very lucrative for identity thieves since medical records information sells anywhere from $1-$1000!

As the number of healthcare providers taking advantage of Telehealth continues to increase—now outnumbering in-person visits—the number of ransomware attacks continues to increase as well. This means Billers and Providers must be aware of the programs that are used on their machines and ensure necessary steps are taken to safeguard against hackers and attacks.

How can you protect yourself and/or your organization?

  • Carefully monitoring where you store and enter your passwords can be extremely beneficial to help minimize the risk of a hack and keeping personal or patient information protected.
  • Routine password changes and monitoring where you store and enter your passwords can be extremely beneficial to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim to a hacker. Passwords should be long, unique in characters, capitalization, and alphanumerical.
  • Have you had an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment and/or penetration testing? If you haven’t completed an accurate and thorough security risk assessment, you could also be penalized under ‘willful neglect’ (this category alone is $50,000 per violation!) in addition to the higher risk of ransomware attacks.
  • If you believe you might have revealed sensitive information about your organization, report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.
  • The strength of your passwords directly impacts your online security.

 

Live Compliance can help. They aggregate breaches which enables you to assess where personal data has been exposed. Dark Web scanning is built right into their Portal, and it allows you to keep an eye on employees whose information was involved in a breach, where the breach took place, and then suggest the next steps to take.

At Live Compliance, they make checking off your compliance requirements extremely simple and to ensure this doesn’t happen to you or your organization:

  • Reliable and effective compliance
  • Completely online, our role-based courses make training easy for remote or in-office employees
  • Contact-free, accurate Security Risk Assessments are conducted remotely. All devices are thoroughly analyzed regardless of location. (Conducting an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment is not only required but is a useful tool to expose potential vulnerabilities, including those such as password protection.)
  • Policies and procedures curated to fit your organization ensuring employees are updated on all workstation use and security safeguards in the office, or out of the office—all updated in real-time
  • Electronic, prepared document sending and signing to employees and business associates

 

So, don’t risk your company’s future on ransomware hackers. Contact one of EZClaim’s partners, Live Compliance, especially since they are offering a FREE Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. E-mail them, visit their website at LiveCompliance.com, or call them at 980.999.1585.

For more information about EZClaim’s medical billing software, which provides a best-in-class product with correspondingly exceptional service and support,  e-mail, visit their website, or contact them at 877.650.0904.

[ Article contributed by Jim Johnson of Live Compliance ]

Avoid Becoming a Victim of Dark Web Breaches

Avoid Becoming a Victim of Dark Web Breaches

The Organizational Assessment is one simple step to avoid becoming a victim of dark web breaches.

There’s no secret that the Dark Web is a scary place to lose your information. Medical records information sell anywhere from $1-$1000 by identity thieves! So, what if it affected your entire company?

 

What is a “breach” and where has the data come from?
A “breach” is an incident where data is inadvertently exposed in a vulnerable system, usually due to insufficient access controls or security weaknesses in the software. Data breaches are becoming more common and sometimes out of your control.

You  can protect yourself and/or your organization by:

  1. Carefully monitoring where you store and enter your passwords can be extremely beneficial to help minimize the risk of a hack and keeping personal or patient information protected
  2. Routine password changes and monitoring where you store and enter your passwords can be extremely beneficial to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim to a hacker. Passwords should be long, unique in characters, capitalization, and alphanumerical

 

If you believe sensitive information about your organization was compromised, report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators, so they can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.

The web browser, Firefox, has a “Monitor” that will warn you by saying, “Your password is your first line of defense against hackers and unauthorized access to your accounts. The strength of your passwords directly impacts your online security.”

EZClaim’s partner, Live Compliance, can help. They aggregate breaches and enable you to assess where your personal data has been exposed. Dark Web scanning is built right into the Live Compliance portal, which allows a company to keep an eye on employees whose information was involved in a breach (and where the breach took place), and the suggested next steps to take.

 

What can I do to ensure this doesn’t happen to me or my organization?

Live Compliance can make checking off your compliance requirements extremely simple. It provides:

  • Reliable and effective compliance
  • Completely online, our role-based courses make training easy for remote or in-office employees
  • Contact-free, accurate Security Risk Assessments are conducted remotely. All devices are thoroughly analyzed regardless of location. Conducting an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment is not only required, but is a useful tool to expose potential vulnerabilities, including those such as password protection.
  • Policies and Procedures curated to fit your organization ensuring employees are updated on all Workstation Use and Security Safeguards in the office, or out of the office, all updated in real-time
  • Electronic, prepared document sending and signing to employees and business associates

 

So, don’t risk your company’s future on dark web breaches. Contact one of EZClaim’s partners, Live Compliance, especially since they are offering a FREE Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. E-mail them, visit their website at LiveCompliance.com , or call them at 980.999.1585.

For more information about EZClaim’s medical billing softwaree-mail, visit their website, or contact them at 877.650.0904.

[ Article contributed by Jim Johnson of Live Compliance ]

HIPAA Compliance Reminder: Windows 7 End of Life

HIPAA Compliance Reminder: Windows 7 End of Life

As 2020 comes to an end, the last thing on anyone’s mind is what operating system is installed on their computers. However, many are unaware that Windows 7 end of life happened over 10 months ago, and according to Microsoft, “If you are still using Windows 7, your PC may become more vulnerable to security risks.

When an operating system reaches the end of its lifecycle, servicing and support is no longer available for the product. This means, Microsoft no longer releases important security updates or technical support for any issues! In addition to that, the antivirus software, “Microsoft Security Essentials,” is also unavailable, and they are warning that, “Windows 7 users will be at greater risk for viruses and malware.”

As a result, possibilities of exploitation of private and sensitive data and information is increased, which makes it even more easily accessible to lurking hackers. The Windows 10 update is a safer solution for the common user, but there are still some steps that both Covered Entities and Business Associates should take in order to remain in compliance with privacy settings and HIPAA Rules and Regulations after making the upgrade.

 

One of EZClaim’s partners, Live Compliance, is an expert in determining compliance, and have offered to help. In addition to upgrading your machine to the latest version, the Live Compliance team of HIPAA and HITECH experts will also ensure that your computer meets all other important compliance requirements, and is safe from other common vulnerabilities.

So, if you have questions regarding your organization’s compliance, Windows 7 end of life, or even assistance in setting up Windows 10, contact Live Compliance at 980.999.1585, or e-mail Jim Johnson.

[ Article contributed by Jim Johnson of Live Compliance ]

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ABOUT EZCLAIM:
EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support, and can help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit their website, e-mail them at sales@ezclaim.com, or call a representative today at 877.650.0904.

Noncompliance of HIPAA Security Rules Has Huge Consequences

Noncompliance of HIPAA Security Rules Has Huge Consequences

The noncompliance of HIPAA security rules has had huge consequences for an IT and health information management company.

CHSPSC LLC, (“CHSPSC”) has agreed to pay over $2 million to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for the breach of Protected Health Information (PHI). The Business Associate was notified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that it had traced a cyber-hacking group’s advanced persistent threat into CHSPSC’s information system.

After OCR ‘s investigation, it was found that CHSPSC had “longstanding, systemic noncompliance with the HIPAA Security Rule including failure to conduct a risk analysis, and failures to implement information system activity review, security incident procedures, and access controls.” The large health system provided various Business Associate services, including IT and health information management, to hospitals and physician clinics. These violations could have easily been avoided! OCR Director Roger Severino said, “The healthcare industry is a known target for hackers and cyber-thieves. The failure to implement the security protections required by the HIPAA Rules, especially after being notified by the FBI of a potential breach, is inexcusable.”

 

In addition to the monetary penalty, the Business Associate will be required to complete a “robust” Corrective Action Plan (CAP) with monitoring activity for at least the next two years. CHSPSC will also be required to do the following:

Implement technical policies and procedures to allow access only to those persons or software programs that have been granted access rights to information systems maintained
Implement procedures to regularly review records of information system activity, such as audit logs, access reports, and security incident tracking reports
Conduct accurate and thorough assessments of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI

All this shows that ANYONE can face HUGE penalties, and they would most likely bankrupt a small billing company or an independent physician practice.

 

So, based on this specific example, it is VERY important to understand that every complaint or potential breach must be investigated by HHS/OCR. If you, a billing company, or other vendor, suspect a breach, you must inform the covered entity (your client) and have a breach risk assessment completed to determine key factors and take action.

Keep in mind, a Business Associate is a ‘person’ or ‘entity’. This means that ALL billing companies—large or small—need to comply with the Federal HIPAA security rules and regulations. So, if your company has not completed an accurate and thorough security risk assessment, there is a possibility that you could be penalized under ‘willful neglect’. (This category alone gas a fine of $50,000 per violation!)

 

So then, what can be done to ensure this doesn’t happen to my billing company or my organization? Well, one of EZClaim’s partners, Live Compliance, can make determining your compliance requirements extremely simple:

Completely online, Life Compliance’s role-based courses make training easy for remote or in-office employees
Contact-free, accurate Security Risk Assessments are conducted remotely. All devices are thoroughly analyzed regardless of location.
Policies and procedures are curated to fit your organization, ensuring employees are updated on all workstation use and security safeguards in or out of the office. Update is in real time.
Electronic, prepared document sending and signing to employees and business associates

 

So, don’t risk your company’s future, especially when Life Compliance is offering a FREE Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. Either call Life Compliance at 980.999.1585, visit LiveCompliance.com to schedule an assessment, or e-mail Jim Johnson.

[ Article contributed by Jim Johnson of Live Compliance ]

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ABOUT EZCLAIM:
EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support, and can help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit their website, e-mail them at sales@ezclaim.com, or call a representative today at 877.650.0904.

Failing to Implement HIPAA Causes Large Fine

Failing to Implement HIPAA Causes Large Fine

Failing to implement HIPAA causes a large fine for a small-town North Carolina health services provider. They were fined $25,000 for multiple, easily avoidable, HIPAA violations for “longstanding, systemic non-compliance” with the HIPAA Security Rule. [ Note: The provider is a part of a health center that offers discounted medical services to the underserved population in rural NC, and the fines were reduced in consideration of this, but it still resulted in a significant monetary loss ].

In 2011, Metropolitan Community Health Services (Metro), doing business as Agape Health Services, filed a breach report regarding “the impermissible disclosure of protected health information to an unknown email account.” The breach affected over 1,200 patients!

In addition to the large monetary penalty, the practice is required to develop and adopt a corrective action plan (which includes two years of thorough monitoring) after the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) discovered that Metro failed to conduct a thorough and comprehensive HIPAA Security Risk Assessment and Analysis. In addition, Metro did not implement a single HIPAA Security Rule Policy and Procedure for the health center. Possibly worst of all, Metro failed to provide workforce members with HIPAA Privacy and Security Awareness training until 2016!

Patients must trust with who they share their personal, private, and protected health information. A breach such as this is obviously devastating for the patient, in addition to their doctor’s reputation. So, how can physicians ensure that they are meeting the HIPAA requirements and have proper safeguards in place to avoid this sort of breach?

First off, an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment and Analysis must be conducted to expose and target any potential administrative, physical, and technical vulnerabilities. Doing so highlights any major flaws in a practice’s administrative and technical safeguards, and accentuates the policies and procedures that the practice needs to implement.

In addition to that, the designated HIPAA Privacy and Security Officer must ensure that ALL employees complete HIPAA Workforce training. All employees of the practice, including the physicians, must take HIPAA training to ensure employees have a clear understanding of the HIPAA Privacy Rule and actionable policies and procedures.

So, remember, healthcare organizations and their vendors have a responsibility to be HIPAA compliant, and that starts by performing, updating, or reviewing an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment covering your technical, administrative, and physical safeguards. This will help uncover any vulnerabilities, and help you understand what information is being transmitted, shared, and how it is being transmitted.

 

TAKEAWAYS AND THINGS TO CONSIDER:

  • Complete a Security Risk Assessment and establish a Corrective Action Plan that is accurate and thorough.
 Remediate any potential risks or vulnerabilities.
  • A Security Risk Assessment will target vulnerabilities related to what is potentially exposing Protected Health Information (PHI)
  • Develop actionable policies and procedures that clearly outline disclosures of PHI
  • Ensure all employees have a clear understanding of the HIPAA Privacy rule and its policies and procedures

 

Live Compliance provides everything you need to become and maintain your organization’s HIPAA compliance requirements. All policies and procedures can be edited and shared directly with staff from your staff portal. Training are delivered and monitored within your portal, can be customized, role-based, and be accessed anytime and from anywhere. You can also easily send and monitor HIPAA training with one click.

Failing to implement HIPAA can cause tremendous problems and use precious resources and time to implement. Live Compliance makes it 10X easier than trying to do it on your own.

So, take advantage of Live Compliance’s FREE Organization Needs Assessment to understand your immediate compliance needs. For additional details, e-mail Jim Johnson (at jim@livecompliance.com), call (980) 999-1585, or visit their website at livecompliance.com/oa

Live Compliance is a partner of EZClaim, a medical billing software company. For more details about their solutions, visit their website at ezclaim.com.

[ Written by Jim Johnson, President of Live Compliance ]

New Compliance Regulations for Working at Home

New Compliance Regulations for Working at Home

Whether you and your workforce are back in the office, or still working from home, there are new compliance regulations, and your HIPAA Compliance program may be a bit different.

Reliable and Effective Compliance

Completely online, our role-based courses make training easy for remote or in-office employees.

Contact-free and accurate Security Risk Assessments are conducted remotely. All devices are thoroughly analyzed regardless of location.

Policies and Procedures curated to fit your organization ensuring employees are updated on all Workstation Use and Security Safeguards in or out of the office and updated in real-time.

Electronic, prepared document sending and signing to employees and business associates.

Don’t risk your company’s future, especially when we are offering a FREE Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status regarding the new compliance regulations. [ Click here to download a “HIPAA Compliance Requirements” document ].

Live Compliance is a partner of EZClaim, and you can contact them directly by either calling them at (980) 999-1585, e-mail Jim Johnson at Jim@LiveCompliance.com, or visit them at LiveCompliance.com

[ Written by Jim Johnson, President of Live Compliance ]