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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 ]

Medical Billing Service Has Used EZClaim for Over 15 Years

Medical Billing Service Has Used EZClaim for Over 15 Years

Deborah Rieser founded Spectrum Medical Billing Services in Anchorage, Alaska 15 years ago to make extra money to help with paying the family’s bills. Today, she owns a thriving medical billing service with a team of “twelve lovely ladies”—as she likes to refer to them—that services clients nationwide. Rieser originally selected EZClaim’s medical billing software platform—because of its pricing structure—to use for her medical billing service.

Over the years, since her original purchase, she has upgraded to each new EZClaim version, which adding new features and efficiencies.  Recently, she has made the transition to EZClaim Cloud, and continues to use it exclusively today.

With team members nationwide, Rieser prides herself on training her billers on properly classifying billing for medical offices so that there are minimal insurance denials. She is very particular about this since one of the reasons Deborah began billing was the insurance qualification struggles she had for her daughter with Autism. So, accurate billing is ‘personal’.

Recently, we found time to interview Rieser about her start in the industry, the ups and downs of being a business owner, and what hard-fought expertise she has gained that might help others considering to start their own medical billing service. 

EZCLAIM: When did you get into the medical billing industry and why?
RIESER: “I always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I had an orchid business out of our house. Then my daughter, who was born with Autism, started working with an Occupational Therapist (OT),  and they came to me to help with billing. I thought about it, and after a few weeks, I took it on. That was back in 2005.

“At that time, my daughter had over 75 volunteers and therapists in the community work with her from age three to age five, and had 50-60 hours a week of therapy. Today, she is a sophomore in  university, has a boyfriend, is driving her car, and is thriving. From all of that, I have always felt the need to give back to the community for all their help. So, I used my business to take on other Pediatric, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy clients, as well as, using my experience to help patients take care of their billing needs and get their bills paid by insurance.”

EZCLAIM: What are you passionate about when it comes to billing?
RIESER: “For me, the biggest thing that I am passionate about is seeing my clients [medical offices] getting paid from insurance claims. I also enjoy helping patients get properly classified during medical visits, so claims are accepted. I have learned a lot from the mistakes and errors that have led to denied claims. From my experience, I can help medical practices observe their approach to patients’ needs so that services qualify when billing insurance companies. Being able to offer that to my clients is very satisfying.”

EZCLAIM: What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome?
RIESER: “Originally, we grew word-of-mouth. I didn’t even want a website at first, but now I do have one. Going from one client to 65 is challenging because as your clients grow, your staff grows. Recently, I lost a client. You then have to decide what you’re going to do with your staff. The hardest part is that, for a business owner, your business consistently goes up and down. That fluctuation can be stressful. For me, I deal with that by going outdoors. My husband and I will go for a walk in nature and that will help relieve my stress.”

EZCLAIM: What advice would you offer others in the billing industry that have similar experiences?
RIESER: “If you’re starting your own business, make sure it’s one you love. Know that there will always be highs and lows. Also, be sure to price yourself accordingly. You can’t go too high or people will look elsewhere.

“I do want to step back and highlight that some of my billing practices only do 2-3 claims a week, and that’s why I love EZClaim. The price of the software. When I was growing, I was working on EZClaim “Advance,” which is being retired. So, when I started looking around at other software providers, they were billed on a ‘per provider cost.’ Fortunately, EZClaim “Cloud” billed based on the number of concurrent users, which worked for me.” 

EZCLAIM: How has your relationship with AMBA (American Medical Billing Association) benefitted you?
RIESER: “I just joined last year in 2019, thanks to EZClaim and Dan Loch’s referral. I love that group. I joined their Facebook group because they have very useful information for us billers. I recommended that my team members join as well. They are good at supporting US-based companies and put the focus on supporting the group.”

EZCLAIM: What would you tell people who are wondering if EZClaim Cloud is right for them?
RIESER: “The transition to EZClaim Cloud was easy. I was worried about the providers and the tax ID’s, but it all was very smooth. I would add that customer support was very helpful. As daunting as moving things over felt, it was very smooth. I attribute that to the planning and support.”

EZCLAIM: What would you say would be a strength of someone who is good at billing and coding?
RIESER: “It is important to be a very good communicator, professional, out-going, and enjoy what you do. One must be able to communicate with providers over denials, success, celebrations, and always keep talking with the staff and the providers. Also, always try to put yourself in the patients’ shoes by offering patience and compassion. Lots of times patients don’t understand their benefits and why they are denied. So, try to explain in layman’s terms. They understand better and appreciate that. It ends up being a good connection with the patient, and benefits you as the biller, too.”

EZCLAIM: Final thoughts?
RIESER: “I am grateful to EZClaim for their services.  As a business owner, you have to monitor expenses and things can add up fast. So, I am thankful for EZClaim Cloud and its pricing structure. That has helped Spectrum Medical Billing Services to grow and thrive.”

[ The above answers were paraphrased as closely as possible to the original answers given by Deborah Rieser on November 25, 2020 ].


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

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.

Security – Keep Your Head In The Clouds

Security – Keep Your Head In The Clouds

Security – Keep Your Head In The Clouds

The cloud is still a mystery to many and when it comes to cloud security regarding Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) compliance and your patients’ protected health information (PHI), the unanswered questions you may have can lead to a lot of stress. We’re here to help make your life easier, so we’ll put this in plain and simple terms. Here are the necessities that make for HIPAA compliant secure hosting and cloud storage solutions. Making sure your hosting and/or cloud storage provider ticks these boxes ensures adherence to the security standards that are required to keep your patients’ PHI, your practice, and your reputation safe.

  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Business Associate Agreement (BAA)
  • Encrypted VPN
  • Firewall
  • Offsite backups
  • Physical safeguards
  • Private hosting environment
  • SSAE 18 Certification
  • SSL Certificates

Cloud computing is an impossible-to-ignore convenience and EZClaim Cloud provides the best of both worlds – the ability to work wherever you want and the peace of mind that comes with knowing your practice and patient data are protected on secure servers with nightly backups. EZClaim Cloud uses Netgain, the industry standard for secure and scalable HIPAA compliant for hosting and secure cloud storage. Rest assured EZClaim Cloud has the security of you and your patients’ PHI covered in every respect. 

Not to mention EZClaim Cloud gives you these additional benefits: 

  • Automatic upgrades
  • Data Permissions Control
  • Less onsite technical support
  • No Contracts
  • Program support
  • Works on all Operating Systems

If you would like to dig deeper to get extensive information regarding HIPAA compliance and the cloud computing environment, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for their Guidance on HIPAA and Cloud Computing.

If you like the sound of the outstanding benefits that EZClaim Cloud provides backed by Netgain, a leader in secure cloud-based hosting and storage, we invite you to learn more or upgrade your account today.

We hope you enjoyed the “Security – Keep Your Head In The Clouds” blog article. Click here to see our full blog page to see all of our most recent posts!