Misunderstanding Occupational Medicine Services ‘Protocols’

Misunderstanding Occupational Medicine Services ‘Protocols’  Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc is Chief Executive Officer of Velocity Urgent Care and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine.  Urgent message: Urgent care owners should be aware of the misuse of the term “protocol” and the scope of employers’ directions concerning the processing of employees in their centers. In addition, urgent care owners need to be diligent when they believe that one of their …

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Implications of HIPAA and Employee Confidentiality Rules on Positive Drug Test Results

Implications of HIPAA and Employee Confidentiality Rules on Positive Drug Test Results

Urgent message: In addition to drug testing their own employees, many urgent care centers offer drug testing as a service to other employers. Therefore, it’s important to understand the laws affecting the privacy of drug screen results.  Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Practice Velocity, LLC and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine Introduction It’s standard procedure throughout the country for employers to require …

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What HIPAA Is and What It’s Not

Urgent message: While many people perceive HIPAA as a law governing patient privacy, protection and standards for personal health information is only one aspect of this law, which was originally intended to regulate health insurance.   Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Practice Velocity, LLC and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. Introduction Ask anyone—even the owner of an urgent care center—what HIPAA is, …

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Washington Suit Alleges Obstacles to ‘Charity Care’ by Hospital

Washington Suit Alleges Obstacles to ‘Charity Care’ by Hospital

Washington’s attorney general has filed suit against St. Joseph Medical Center, charging that the hospital has illegally withheld “charity care” from tens of thousands of low-income Tacoma-area residents for years. Specifically, AG Bob Ferguson says St. Joseph has erected “obstacles” that inhibit providing care to patients who may have trouble affording it. State laws in Washington require hospitals to verify the income of prospective charity patients, but allegedly St. Joseph staff were directed to ask …

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Streamlining Management of Shared Employees Across Multiple Locations

Urgent message: Ongoing growth within the urgent care industry intensifies competition for competent professionals. “Sharing” trusted workers across multiple sites can help keep costs in check and ensure efficient practices—provided it’s done right. Andraya Carson-Hruby and Vance Daniels It is a good time to be in the urgent care business: According to the Urgent Care Association of America’s 2016 Benchmarking Report, there was a 10% increase in the number of urgent care centers across the …

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Why Are You Being Sued?

Urgent message: “Winning” a lawsuit in which you’re the defendant runs a distant second to avoiding lawsuits altogether—never mind if you’re on the losing end and have to pay a judgment. Understanding relevant regulations and laws is the best way to stay out of court. Today’s healthcare providers must carefully navigate their way around complex laws and regulations which regulate, restrict, and impact their practices. Urgent care providers who fail to navigate within these laws …

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When to Fight a Claim for Unemployment

Urgent message: While unemployment insurance claims can cost an urgent care center through higher future premiums, there are multiple considerations for when a center should contest or approve an unemployment claim. Urgent care centers, as service businesses, frequently experience a high rate of turnover among their less skilled, frontline staff—eg, receptionists, clerks, and medical assistants. Whether an employee quits or is terminated for cause or performance, a common issue for urgent care center owners is …

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Who Owns Patient Medical Records?

Urgent message: While historically there has been an understanding that patients own the information contained in their medical records, and that providers own the record itself, the current lack of a federal law governing the ownership of medical records poses a conundrum when those records are stored electronically. New challenges demand innovative solutions—often in the form of new technologies that make life easier. Certainly technology has advanced healthcare to improve and lengthen our lives. Yet, …

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Should an Urgent Care Operator Check the National Sex Offender Registry When Hiring Employees?

Should an Urgent Care Operator Check the National Sex Offender Registry When Hiring Employees?

Urgent message: Failure to identify risks in a new hire’s background can result in “negligent hiring” liability for an urgent care operator, but there are also limitations in what information a center can seek on an applicant. The approximately 7,100 urgent care centers in the United States employ physicians, NPs, PAs, RNs, medical assistants, technicians, and receptionists who provide walk-in patients with medical care for minor health conditions without an appointment. Most urgent care centers …

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Income Tax Liability from Phantom Income

Urgent message: How physician and entrepreneur investors structure their urgent care center may expose them to an income tax liability from phantom income, but there are steps they can take to ensure there are sufficient funds to cover it. Introduction Income taxes are one of life’s certainties for most working Americans. Typically, however, income taxes are paid only on cash received during the course of a year. For example, a Form W-2 received by an …

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