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HIPAA Compliance for Dental Practices

Have you ever been out of HIPAA compliance? Are you sure?

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was signed into law in 1996. It provides security provisions and data privacy. When it comes to HIPAA forms and appropriate documentation in patient charts, many dental practices are falling short. According to Christine Taxin, founder and president of Links2Success, a practice management consulting company, there are several mistakes you could make. 

Common Mistakes with HIPAA

One of the biggest is often one of the simplest to correct: ensure all your patients sign the necessary HIPAA compliance forms.

 “We make mistakes with things like, ‘Mom called, and she'd like to know about Johnny's treatment, and how much treatment will cost,’” explained Taxin. “Johnny is in college, he's 19, and we can't legally disclose that information, even though his mom is paying the bill. We absolutely have to have the consent form, and the HIPAA compliance forms signed by Johnny.”

Do you know that documenting “tooth #31 MOD” is not in compliance with the law? “It's not giving information on how you diagnosed tooth #31,” said Taxin. “It's not providing information on why you're treating #31, and it’s not telling the insurance company, medical provider, or anyone how you treated it.” An astounding 99% of hygienists abbreviate, according to Taxin. Without a comprehensive list of the abbreviations used in your practice and their documented meaning, you are legally out of compliance.

Another area that can lead to trouble is if you’re using a third party to do your practice’s dental and/or medical billing. You need your patients to give your office signed permission for another party to look at their paperwork.

Taxin lectures on this topic around the country, plus has recorded a series of videos for Patient Prism Academy. For more information, visit Academy.PatientPrism.com.

About Christine Taxin

Christine Taxin PhotoChristine Taxin the founder and president of Links2Success, a practice management consulting company to the dental and medical fields. Prior to starting her own management consulting company, Christine worked for a large New York City hospital as administrator of a critical care department, managed an extensive practice and worked with Coaching Solutions and Dynamic Administrators consulting companies. She sits on the Board of the National Dental EDI Council Foundation, and is a founding member of the American Academy of Oral Systemic Health.

Christine is  a guest speaker for Henry Schein, Patterson Dental, Sirona Dental Systems and Goetze Dental. She presents for the American Association of Dental Office Managers, Pennwell’s Professional Dental Assisting, and the New York Academy of General Dentistry. She is also an adjunct instructor at NYU College of Dentistry and teaches in the residency programs at Maimonides Medical Center and Jamaica Hospital.

Coding and fee positioning errors cost dental practices thousands of dollars every year. Christine's workshops teach team members how to avoid costly mistakes, as well as how to master dental to medical cross-coding. Click here for a list of her upcoming events and enter the code PRISM to save 20%. 


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