Attention Texas Dental Patients

Attention Texas Dental Patients

[You should read this]

Darrell K. Pruitt DDS
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At a uniquely critical time in history, as dentists strive to keep their patients out of emergency rooms, pharmacists here in Fort Worth are telling dentists that the Texas State Board of Pharmacy has outlawed paper prescriptions – even for antibiotics.
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According to three local pharmacists, on January 1, 2021 many dentists – including myself – will no longer be allowed to prescribe medications without digital records, no matter the urgency. As a dentist, I neither need nor want digital records, and as a patient, you shouldn’t either. Let me show you third-party nonsense which does NOTHING to improve patient care.
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According to Protenus Breach Barometer, between April and June of 2017, 142 healthcare data breaches were reported, impacting 3.14 million records. 23 of the incidents involved paper, affecting 158,711 records. 158,711 divided by 3,140,000 = 5%.
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This means that if your dentist put your identifying information on a computer, you had a 95% greater chance of medical identity theft than if your paper records were stored in a metal filing cabinet. In the last three years, the breaches have only worsened, cyber-crime is growing stronger every day, and most importantly, there are no solutions on the horizon. I ask you, why should any healthcare provider be forced by the state to knowingly risk Texans’ welfare?
***
Electronic dental records – both cloud-based and premises-based – are not only increasingly more expensive and increasingly more dangerous than paper for both dentists and patients, but they offer patients NO TANGIBLE BENEFITS over paper.
Just ask anyone.
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But there’s more. Electronic dental records (which do nothing to improve care) also require far more training and specialized expertise than the working knowledge of alphabetical order required for filing charts in their correct place. Dental EHRs are first and foremost billing tools which not only shift the high cost of data entry from insurers back to dentists (read “patients”), but enable the really clever CEOs to control treatment decisions by employing strategic complexities for payment. All that digital offers dentists is convenience – expensive, dangerous convenience.
***
If Texans knew the truth, many would naturally prefer paper dental records. The business of dentistry is simply not so complicated that it requires computerization. After all, a dentist bills for treatments involving only the lower 1/3 of the face, and because dentistry involves intricate handwork, dentists can only safely treat a dozen or so patients a day – compared to 40 or more for physicians.
***
Very large, successful dental practices have thrived without computers for decades, while their patients enjoy the gold standard of security: Loud, heavy and cumbersome sheet metal filing cabinets.
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Assessment
***
Let’s face it. Electronic dental records will never protect patients from identity theft as well as paper. CVS, Walgreens and Albertson’s as examples, simply don’t care.  Surprised?
***
THANK YOU

Dental EHRs are Coming to an End?

Dental EHRs are Coming to an End

By Darrell Pruitt DDS


The reckless third-party push for adoption of increasingly dangerous dental EHR systems is the most harmful scam in the history of dentistry.

But it’s almost over, Doc. Equifax was hacked.

“If a company like Equifax can make significant investments, have every incentive to keep the most sensitive kind of information secure, but still experience a breach … it stands to reason that our playbook needs a revision,”

Josh Mayfield: [Platform Specialist at Firemon Immediate Insight]. (See: “Equifax, U.S. consumers alike will struggle to overcome massive hack” By Tim Johnson for Mcclatchy, September 8, 2017).

Http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article172078982.html

Why should anyone assume electronic dental records are any more secure than Equifax records?

Not only do digital health records subject Americans to increasing risk of medical identity theft – which can be lethal – but they are increasingly more expensive than paper dental records.

What’s more, electronic dental records offer dental patients NO TANGIBLE BENEFITS:  When is the last time you witnessed a practice advertise the benefits of digital records? On the other hand, you may have also noticed the appearance of paper files in the backgrounds of promotional photos.

A decade ago, I tried to persuade American Dental Association leadership to consider de-identification of dentists’ primary dental records. After all, if identities are unavailable, they simply cannot be stolen. ADA leadership summarily discarded the idea in favor of full disk encryption – which dentists summarily rejected in favor of luck …. And so here we are, Doc. “First, do no harm.”

***

***

Dental EHR vendors simply will not survive transparency without fundamental changes in how patients’ welfare is guarded – which will further increase their cost and liability.

The future is obvious, yet I am the only dentist in the nation openly warning of the inevitable collapse of the electronic dental record industry. Unlike physicians, who treat four to five times as many patients a day and depend on quick interoperability with other physicians, dentists can safely return to paper. They won’t like the inconvenience of carbon paper, but following the Equifax breach of almost half of the nation’s consumers – virtually every one of them mad as hell – dentists will have no choice. Ehrs have become too costly.

Assessment

This week, a dentist on Facebook who tried but failed to defend the censorship habits of a popular dental consultant said I was on a “one-man crusade.” I don’t think he meant it in the good way. I ask you to remember that remark for future reference.

Conclusion

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***

 

Health Information Technology [EMR] Update

2014 to 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

Three years ago

“When Patients Fear EHR – When patients believe paper medical records are safer and more private than electronic ones, their health can suffer. Many members of the public mistakenly believe electronic health records (ehrs) are less secure than paper files. Magnified by misinformation and political distortion of facts, an unnecessary fear has taken root in the minds of many consumers — often with serious consequences.” 

-Mansur Hasib

Cybersecurity Professional – Author and Speaker in commentary for informationweek, July 28, 2014

Http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/electronic-health-records/when-patients-fear-ehr/a/d-id/1297519

This week 

“Doctors claim medical records system puts patient safety at risk – PROBLEMS with Queensland Health’s electronic medical record system are angering health workers, with fed-up senior doctors circulating a document slamming the technology and those in charge of it.”

-Kara Vickery and Janelle Miles – The Courier-Mail, July 25, 2017.

Http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/doctors-claim-medical-records-system-puts-patient-safety-at-risk/news-story/dc18cb388552eb4d179629c298a28408

“300,000 records breached in ransomware attack on Pennsylvania health system – The breach on Women’s Health Care Group of Pennsylvania was discovered in May, but hackers had unauthorized access to the system as early as January.”

-Jessica Davis – Health Care IT News, July 26, 2017

Http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/300000-records-breached-ransomware-attack-pennsylvania-health-system

“HIPAA Data Breaches, Cyber Attacks Reported by 47% of Orgs – KPMG found that there was a 10 percentage point increase in reported HIPAA data breaches or cyber attacks from 2015 to 2017.”

-Elizabeth Snell – Health IT Security, July 27, 2017

Https://healthitsecurity.com/news/hipaa-data-breaches-cyber-attacks-reported-by-47-of-orgs

“Doctors frustrated that electronic records steal time from patients – Dr. Rebekah Gardner has to make a choice each time she sees a patient in her Rhode Island office: she can scroll computer screens and click boxes, or she can focus on the patient and take home the computer work.”

-Ronnie Cohen – Reuters, July 28, 2017

Http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-records-electronics-iduskbn1ad2gt

“Plastic Surgery Associates data breach: Patients’ records, payment card details possibly compromised – The company said it discovered that some of its systems were infected with ransomware in February.”

-Hyacinth Mascarenhas – International Business Times, July 29, 2017

Http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/plastic-surgery-associates-data-breach-patients-records-payment-card-details-possibly-compromised-1632555

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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***

Timeless Art by Pruitt

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My art is now featured on Etsy

I have now stocked my Etsy store with 14 works.

Please come visit me. Take a look around.

“Panhandle Depot” is the first of many

pruitt

[By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS]

The “Panhandle Depot”

Signed and dated, 8×10 print of a high resolution colored pencil painting depicting a Santa Fe locomotive approaching the Panhandle, Texas depot from the East.

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il_570xn_1109931506_siy7

[The painting is based on a photo I took in 1993. The piece was completed in November, 2016]

More: https://www.etsy.com/listing/487534416/panhandle-depot-color-pencil-print

***

 Dental Mission

And, I came across a drawing from a dental mission that I don’t think I have shared.

 dsc02456

“Difficult Extraction”

[Based on a photo I took in 1992 during a dental mission to Tela, Honduras, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras]

***

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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***

Recent EHR News

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1-darrellpruitt

Recent EHR News

By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

“Cerber ransomware decryption tool was available for 1 day before hackers rendered it useless – The authors of Cerber fixed the flaw in the ransomware’s code that made decryption possible.” By India Ashok for International Business Times, August 18, 2016.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/cerber-ransomware-decryption-tool-was-available-1-day-before-hackers-rendered-it-useless-1576662

“HIPAA Breach Case Results in Record $5.5 Million Penalty.” By Aldrin Brown for MSP Mentor, August 18, 2016.

http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/hipaa-breach-case-results-record-55-million-penalty

“HIT Costs Rose 40% Per Physician Since 2009.” By Christine Kern, contributing writer, Health IT Outcomes, August 19, 2016.

http://www.healthitoutcomes.com/doc/hit-costs-rose-per-physician-since-0001

Kern:  “Healthcare organizations are facing serious financial challenges as they are forced to convert their practices and patient records to digital formats.”

“Office for Civil Rights to Increase Investigations of Smaller HIPAA Breaches.” By National Law Review, August 19, 2016

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/office-civil-rights-to-increase-investigations-smaller-hipaa-breaches

NLR:  “HHS Office for Civil Rights will cast a wider net and increase its investigations into smaller HIPAA privacy breaches starting this month. OCR announced a new initiative to increase its efforts examining breaches that affect fewer than 500 individuals. OCR Regional Offices already investigate every reported breach affecting 500 or more individuals, and will continue to do so, but now they will intensify efforts to scrutinize smaller breaches.”

“2016 is the year to Go Paperless’ – Stop putting it off, going paperless can save you tens of thousands of dollars.” By Larry Emmott for Emmott on Technology, August 19, 2016.

http://emmottontechnology.com/

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

***

EHRs – AMA versus ADA

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Will Electronic Health Records Ever Be Usable?

[By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS]

1-darrellpruittThe American Medical Association

The AMA attempts to address the frustration EHRs create, especially for doctors and other healthcare workers. ‘It’s easy to use, once you know where everything is,’ the instructor said during an EHR training session I recently attended.

Most EHR companies seem to believe this is an acceptable way to design software. EHR usability has been greatly ignored by vendors, and last week the American Medical Association issued eight usability priorities in an attempt to address the issue.

This directive comes as a result of a joint study by the RAND Corporation and the AMA highlighting EHRs as a significant detractor from physicians’ professional satisfaction.” Commentary by Stephanie Kreml for InformationWeek, September 26, 2014.

http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/electronic-health-records/will-electronic-health-records-ever-be-usable/a/d-id/1316071

The American Dental Association

On the other hand, “EHRs provide long-term savings and convenience,” no byline, ADA News, December 6, 2013.

http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2013-archive/december/ehrs-provide-long-term-savings-convenience

boxing-gloves-1053702

[POW – SPLAT – BIFF – UGH]

More:

  1. The Percentage of Office-Based Doctors with EHRs
  2. Do Nurses like EHRs?
  3. EHRs – Still Not Ready For Prime Time
  4. The “Price” of eHRs
  5. Borges versus Kvedar Video eHR Debate

EHRs versus the Federal Government

Government mandated EHRs – what a waste!

“Doctors, Hospitals Went Digital, But Still Can’t Share Records – After spending billions to switch from paper to digital records — much of it taxpayer subsidized through the economic stimulus package — providers say the systems often do not share information with competitors.”

[Kaiser Health News, October 1, 2014]

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Daily-Reports/2014/October/01/marketplace.aspx

Conclusion

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There’s a New HIPAA Sheriff in Town

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On OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels

1-darrellpruitt

[By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS]

When the explosions of breaches of patients’ medical identities occur – as predicted by the FBI and others – will the new OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels continue to be as sympathetic and forgiving as Leon Rodriguez has been?

Or; will she take on the role of bad cop?

 

The Replacement

Samuels, who is tying up loose ends in her current position with the civil rights division at the Department of Justice, has replaced Rodriguez as the new head of the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights – which prosecutes HIPAA violations. Many are wondering about her level of enthusiasm for enforcement, especially since data breaches are only getting worse, not better.

Privacy and security attorney Adam Greene, who once served as a member of the OCR staff, tells GovInfo that the challenge for Samuels is “to strike the balance where HIPAA is seen as having ‘teeth’ but covered entities and business associates can still count on OCR as being reasonable when there are areas of ambiguity or privacy or security issues occur despite good efforts at compliance.”

(See: “Impact of New HIPAA Enforcement Leader – Are New Strategies, Directions on the Horizon?” by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee for GovInfoSecurity.com, July 11, 2014).

http://www.govinfosecurity.com/impact-new-hipaa-enforcement-leader-a-7049/op-1

Healthcare Harm

Principals in healthcare – providers and patients – continue to be harmed by EHRs designed to satisfy third-parties’ questionable Meaningful Use requirements rather than principals’ needs. For example, on April 8, the FBI warned that EHRs are becoming increasingly vulnerable to hackers. (See: “Health Care Systems and Medical Devices at Risk for Increased Cyber Intrusions for Financial Gain”).

http://www.illuminweb.com/wp-content/uploads/ill-mo-uploads/103/2418/health-systems-cyber-intrusions.pdf

Under Rodriguez, OCR has arguably spared the rod (mostly), choosing instead to discuss and correct HIPAA violations in an informal, private, non-punitive manner. I think both Rodriguez and Secretary Sebelius backed off of more aggressive enforcement because they recognized that without cooperation from doctors and patients, EHRs are certain to fail – mandate or no mandate. Nevertheless, it has proven to be far too easy for stakeholders who cannot be held accountable to patients, to marginalize their needs.

Jocelyn Samuels

[New OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels]

Example

Rodriguez did his best to appease all sides. For example, it was under his watch that the name of the HHS website listing breaches of 500 or more patients’ identities was changed from “Wall of Shame” to the more benign “HHS Breach Reporting Tool.”

For hapless providers whose data breaches were unavoidable, the name change eliminates some of the shame associated with being nationally recognized as a careless doctor who cannot keep thieves from stealing patients’ identities.

Assessment 

As long as there is nothing holding down the cost and liability of HIPAA compliance, there will always be room for more regulation, and the cost of healthcare will never be cheaper.

Conclusion

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Can Politically-Correct Names Save Obamacare?

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Saving Electronic Health Record Interoperability?

1-darrellpruittBy D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

If HHS successfully persuades Americans to use happy names for its bad ideas, will the cheap trick save electronic health record interoperability which is critical to the success of Obamacare?

Healthcare Lexicon 

According to the government’s modernized healthcare lexicon, doctors have been demoted to “providers,” insurance companies, including Medicare/Medicaid, have been promoted to “payers,” and patients’ position in the hierarchy has diminished from “principals” to “stakeholders” – a rank on par with 3rd parties such as insurers, HHS and other unaccountable parasites.

Wall of Shame

Ominously, HHS recently changed the contentious name “Wall of Shame” to a more innocuous“ breach reporting tool,” to describe the public list of data breaches involving the medical records of more than 500 patients. It turns out that the growing list of major data breaches is unexpectedly shaming  far too many providers and payers – including Medicare/Medicaid. Imagine that!

In fact, since Americans’ growing disgust with privacy breaches threatens the very success of Obamacare, there is evidence that HHS has turned to betraying its lawful obligation to the nation by hiding breaches from those who are most vulnerable – Americans.

HIPAA Failure

The half-baked plan to shame providers who experience data breaches – perhaps through no fault of their own – is not working out like HHS had hoped. Due to HIPAA’s abysmal failure to halt data breaches, the Wall of Shame has become a national embarrassment and an obstacle to EHR adoption. I expect the public listing of major breaches to be quietly scrapped soon in favor of keeping patients in the dark concerning their risks of identity theft.

Dentistry 

In dentistry, on the other hand, common sense as well as market resistance evidently caused HHS and other stakeholders to give up trying to prohibit use of the 8 syllable “electronic dental records” in favor of the 14 syllable “electronic health records for dental practices.”

Nevertheless, holdouts (including Dissent Doe) still occasionally feel it is important to correct this dentists when I use “EDR” instead of “EHR.” You got to love ‘em.

Obama Care 

Assessment 

Transparent silliness suggests that HHS is failing in its duties. Due to lack of accountability, we can expect EHRs and EDRs to become even more expensive and more dangerous, possibly bringing an end to Obamacare.

Conclusion

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How I Lost my Battle Against the NPI

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Refusing a National Provider Identifier Number

By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

pruittI can no longer refuse to apply for a National Provider Identifier (NPI). I lost that long battle. Anyone rejoicing?

I’m spent. My leverage has vanished. Telling insurers “I have no NPI” held much more inherent power than “I have an NPI but I won’t share it with you on principle.” Far too many words. My profession has become dominated by unresponsive, unaccountable 3rd parties that dental leaders in the ADA welcome as policy. Working together, they promote and commandeer the technology dentists purchase and clueless patients pay for in increased fees. I have painfully learned that principles are only for dentists who can still afford them, and it’s a bad economy for luxuries.

Non-HIPAA Entity

Since I am not a HIPAA-covered entity and therefore not required by law to adopt an NPI, my capitulation to extortion disappoints me as an American citizen. I still find it hard to believe that an anti-consumer HIPAA rule enthusiastically enforced by the dental benefits industry could force me to “volunteer” for a PERMANENT identifier. As I and 96% of dentists become jerked around by our NPIs, I hope dental historians note that I am the ONLY dentist who publicly asked “Why?” instead of “Why not?” After 6 years, I’m still awaiting an answer to that question from leaders who continue to promote the NPI to dentists while ignoring their questions.

Dental Benefits Providers

I was able to hold out up until Aetna, Delta Dental and other dental benefits providers deprived my office of access to details of patients’ dental benefits unless I have an NPI. I’m waiting for someone – anyone – to tell me how the identifier can possibly improve the dental care of those who pay Aetna and Delta Dental premiums, especially if their benefits are intentionally kept secret from their dentists. I am certain that if the nation’s employers who purchase dental benefits were aware of the transparent nonsense, they would never purchase such products. Where’s the US Chamber of Commerce? Where’s the FTC? How about the US Constitution?

This is exactly why there needs to be more openness in our profession, Doc. The cockroaches who were invited to quietly overrun dentistry cannot withstand transparency, yet I don’t know how much longer I can fight for it without further risking the health of my practice.

As anyone can understand – and as anticipated by corporate executives in the insurance industry as well as by those with vested interests in the ADA Department of Dental Informatics – to have to explain to new patients why I cannot estimate how much they will owe for treatment would destroy my practice. Outside the US, other societies deem it unethical to deny patients informed consent to treatment for any reason. The NPI is such an egregious blunder that I never expect those who promoted to accept ownership.

###

NPI

Assessment

If I lost the battle, who won? Do EDR enthusiasts in the ADA call this a glorious victory and a likely source of ADA pride for decades to come? Or is it much more shameful? Since I lost freedom, I want to know who won?

Conclusion

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On Open Letter to Dental Economics

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Fun on a Slow Day [will that be paper or electrons?]

[By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS]

As anyone following the ME-P knows by now, Dental Economics’ officials have been suspiciously unhelpful in locating experts capable of responding to concerns about the cost and safety of EHRs in dentistry – quite the opposite.

The CR Foundation

In addition, Dr. Gordon Christensen’s CR Foundation has also suspiciously avoided discussion of EDRs with this dentist. Nevertheless, I’m certain that like most other EDR stakeholders, employees of DE and CRF at least secretly agree that this consumer has tolerated good ol’ boy behavior in the marketplace far longer than any vendor anywhere else in the free world could ever expect – no matter how important.

Dentrix, too!

At some point, Dental Economics, CR Foundation and Dentrix will either have to answer at least one dentist’s sincere questions about EDRs or censor me from their Facebooks. Over time, not-anonymous censorship would be second only to anonymous censorship as the worst possible choice. If I’m given the opportunity, I’ll prove it.

As readers can tell, sometimes on slow days, even silence from rude people who profit off of my profession irritates me – causing me to want to grab them by the attentions. I’m feeling especially itchy today, so I also posted the following on Dental Economics Facebook:

Dear Dental Economics:

If the AMA finally admits that EHRs are a poor substitute for thinking, don’t you agree it’s time for shy stakeholders in dentistry to accept ownership of their products’ weaknesses? And for other stakeholders to either help me or get out of the damn way?

“EHRs Linked to Errors, Harm, AMA Says — Clinicians can introduce errors when they copy and paste sensitive patient data into electronic health records, according to AMA research.”

http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/EMR/232400325

Or, do you think if dentists remain silent like good little professionals, those who profit from EDRs and related advertisements will suddenly become honest with our patients? I’m not that optimistic. I think if interoperable EDRs are ever to succeed, dentists must pester the unresponsive leaders even while hangers-on would shield them for their own selfish reasons. For example, dentists are unlikely to ever read in Dental Economics the following hints of the imminent failure of EHRs in dentistry: 96% of EHR systems have been breached in the last 2 years and the frequency of breaches rose 32% in the last year – costing over $6.5 billion. The fantasy is over, DE. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for even stakeholders to get giddy about EDRs.

Once the high risks of identity theft from dental offices can no longer be suppressed by stakeholders, our patients’ trust will be forever lost – just to protect the most selfish of people in the healthcare industry from accountability.

Where are you Dentrix?

And what’s the opinion of your CRF investigators, Dr. Gordon Christensen? Are EDRs cheaper than paper dental records or not? As you know, a few months ago your former CEO stated in an article on Dentistry iQ that EDRs offer dentists a “high return on investment,” yet failed to produce evidence supporting his incredible claim.

http://www.dentaleconomics.com/index/display/article-display/2974000845/articles/dental-economics/volume-101/issue-10/features/digital-dentistry-is-this-the-future-of-dentistry.html

Regardless of an institution’s reputation and market share, deceiving doctors and patients for personal gain is just wrong.

Since the misleading statement from the influential CEO has never been corrected, his lie which is still featured on Dentistry iQ continues to harm naïve dentists and clueless patients – but not without the help of 8 Dental Economics editors who voted the CEO’s article as a tie for the “Most important story for the dental profession in 2011.”

http://www.dentistryiq.com/index/display/article-display/9721317527/articles/dentisryiq/hygiene-department/2011/12/best-of_2011_articles.html

Assessment

Way to go, Dental Economics editors! Any of you have enough confidence to discuss why you chose the former CEO’s article? I think your readers would like to hear your reasons. I certainly would. What could it hurt?

Conclusion

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Is Informatics the The Curse of Healthcare Reform?

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Medical Coding Complications and Greed

[By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS]

Coding complications in government healthcare ALWAYS favor the house — CMS guarantees it with lawsuits and whistleblower rewards that could attract dishonest employees. Are you careful who you hire?

Complications 

Complications in healthcare informatics – including 5-digit CPT® code mistakes as well as foul-ups that involve physicians’ “voluntary” 10-digit National Provider Identifier numbers – ALWAYS grant insurers more time to pay past-due bills owed to their clients and their clients’ doctors.

Call me Cynical 

Call me cynical, but if interest rates climb ever higher as predicted, watch for unexplained, proportional increases in coding errors to help fund insurance CFOs’ bonuses while raising the cost of healthcare even more without improving value. Is it any wonder why Americans don’t get the quality of healthcare we purchase compared to citizens in other countries? Tax-payers in my neighborhood are begging for in-network providers who put their patients’ interests ahead of insurers’ as much as allowed by insurers’ self-serving rules – without committing fraud. As a general rule, healthcare stakeholders accommodate parasites more than principals.

CPT® Codes and Patient Care 

Accurate CPT® coding may have nothing to do with patient care, but CMS makes it nevertheless important to physicians. Whereas the most innocent NPI foul-ups reliably delay payment and never turn out well for providers, the new fraud and abuse provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [ACA] can cause an innocent coding mistake on a Medicare claim to land the doc in court with charges of fraud depending on the quality of employees one hires – but only if the error favors the provider and not the payer. In June, David Burda posted “Attorney tells audience to brace for a storm of whistle-blower lawsuits” on ModernHealthcare.com.

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20100623/NEWS/306209989/-1

Of Whistle-Blower Lawsuits

Burda reports that healthcare attorney Joanne Judge, a partner with Stevens & Lee in Reading, Pa., predicts a significant increase in whistle-blower lawsuits simply because the new law makes it far too easy for a dishonest employee to file an unwarranted lawsuit. No longer is there a requirement for the whistleblower, who stands to win money from his or her patriotic effort, to directly witness the crime. That kind of idea could catch on in this economy.

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“The new law also converts accidental Medicare overpayments to providers into potential false claims, Judge said. She said the law considers an overpayment as fraud if the overpayment isn’t identified by the provider and returned to the government within 60 days. Judge said that will require providers to beef up their internal billing systems to detect an overpayment as soon as possible and then send Medicare back its money.”

Assessment 

What can possibly go wrong with that plan? Thorough background checks on all new employees is increasingly important, doc. For my employment security issues, I’ve learned to depend on Richard at Investigation Resource Service out of Dallas. He’s never let me down (This is not a paid ad).

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

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