HIPAA’s portability lost in privacy overkill

Eight years after insurance portability was guaranteed by federal law it remains uncertain — even unlikely — that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) achieved its primary goal. Not only is the effectiveness of the act unknown, but no one seems very interested in finding out. In 1996, Congress approved HIPAA virtually unanimously. […]

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  • “Coding” is not a four-letter word

    If you mention the word “coding” with behavioral health colleagues, don’t be surprised when they plug their ears and start mumbling, “la-la-la-la-la-la-la.” After all, why should they worry about coding, they can only use two or three codes, right? Wrong. Since 2001, 156 new codes related to mental health have been added to the mental […]

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  • Mental health care for needy to plummet if Medicaid is cut

    The poor will be the first to fall through the cracks of mental health care if a proposed $10 billion cut in Medicaid passes. Pitfalls that await them are jail, prison and an increase in the number of suicides. “The problem is that these people will continue to need services and so they will essentially […]

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  • Psychological testing: old specialty, new markets

    Psychological testing is an important part of psychology’s history. Opinions about its future are wide ranging. Some psychologists believe it’s a nearly obsolete tool while others see it as a specialty area with tremendous growth potential. Payment trends Psychological testing has followed a reimbursement course similar to that of psychotherapy. With the incursion of managed […]

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  • Medicare update summer 2009 – Probability of audits increases

    Intense scrutiny for billing and coding errors of Medicare claims begins this summer as the controversial Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program is in place. According to an article in ModernHealthcare.com posted May 4, 2009, after piloting the RAC program in several states, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) believes it will cut down on […]

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  • Mental health ‘carve-outs’ sue to block parity

    A group of insurance interests have filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to block rules adopted to enforce the federal parity law. Mental health advocates say the court action demonstrates that the struggle for parity between health and mental health insurance coverage is far from over despite the […]

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  • Returning troops to get follow-up assessments

    Time doesn’t heal all wounds, at least not the mental wounds of combat duty that can bubble to the surface months after the initial relief of leaving a combat zone. Realizing that, the Department of Defense (DoD) has expanded mental health evaluations for troops returning from Iraq and other hot spots to include follow-up assessments […]

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  • Ohio Psy.D. overcomes challenges in Iraq

    Kathy Platoni, Psy.D., has left behind the 50-minute hours of private practice in Centerville, Ohio, for a different professional venue – the rugged terrain of Iraq where 100-degree-plus discomfort is regularly punctuated by exploding mortars or roadside “improvised explosive devices.” “We’re going into our tenth month and we’re hoping to be home by Christmas,” Platoni […]

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  • ‘Use Or Lose’ Bonuses Ready To Go

    Most psychologists, like other taxpayers, can expect economic incentive rebates when they file with the IRS this year, but only the most dilligent psychologists will receive special bonus payments next year. If this list of conditions does describe many of your therapy preferences, then you might be interested to know of the approach taken by […]

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  • Malpractice Insurance 101: Claims-made vs. occurrence coverage

    You have decided that you are going to start a private practice and are ready to take a major step into running a business. One component of that business will be to make sure you have adequate professional liability insurance. Very few psychologists, especially those just getting started, have the financial resources to defend a […]

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