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Unlock the Door to Success in the New Year

Compliance Basics
Kathy Mills Chang MCS-P CCPC
in Compliance Basics
By Kathy Mills Chang MCS-P CCPC CCCA

Comprehensive Training is the Key

Comprehensive Training is the Key

Kathy Mills Chang MCS-P, CCPC, CCCA and Nicki Brooks, CPPM, KMC University

There is something exciting and hopeful about facing a new year. Many people make resolutions to do things better, both personally and professionally. Others may choose a single word that means something to them, and can be applied to pursuing their goals for the next twelve months. Some are just simply ready to move forward with a clean slate. Whatever category, we can all agree that a new year is a great time to stop and take inventory of what is performing well, and what areas could use some improvement. This is especially true within the world of business. And while Chiropractors would much rather view their practices through the lenses of helping and healing, the truth is that a practice is a business, and must be managed as such.

One of the most critical components of operating a successful clinic is making certain that Chiropractic Assistants (CA) are well trained. It could be said that doctors who have found themselves in dire financial circumstances may have avoided such extreme consequences by simply ensuring their CAs were properly trained. And what better time to implement a plan for change than now? A new year is the perfect time to formulate a checklist, and revisit any topics for training which need to be addressed whether for the first time, or just as an annual refresher.

Where Do I Start?

Some states have specific requirements that must be met when training CAs. These requirements vary per state, so begin by checking with your state board to determine what those requirements entail. Your board may be able to provide a directory of the types of training being offered in your region, or at your state chiropractic convention, as well as to qualifying webinars and other online training. Once verified what is required at the state level, the next step is to make certain federal compliance training requirements are adequately covered.

HIPAA and the OIG Weigh In

The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires training when an individual is hired, or whenever there is a material change to policies and/or procedures. Additionally, practices should conduct annual refresher training to ensure their staff is consistently reminded of HIPAA requirements and updates and in an effort to avoid breaches or lapses that may generate an incident.

The HIPAA Security Rule requires a security awareness and training program for all workforce members with an implementation specification for the program – periodic security updates. Unfortunately, the Security Rule does not define periodic, nor does it offer explanation as to when, or how often staff must be trained. As it also fails to define what comprises periodic security updates, it is once again recommended that practices conduct annual Security Training, in addition to the annual Privacy Rule refresher training.

One of the best sources for specific compliance-related information is the Office of Inspector General (OIG) website. Here we find comprehensive information regarding healthcare compliance, including everything from e-mail updates, to podcast training, to sample webinars, and PowerPoint training sessions. Ongoing compliance training includes reviewing Advisory Opinions, Fraud Alerts, Bulletins, and other compliance related guidance. As new issues arise in healthcare compliance, they are reviewed at this website.

KMC University has created this basic checklist (Click image below to download) to assist practices in determining many of the topics which should be taken into consideration when implementing a training program for CAs. Keep in mind that there will likely be policies and procedures specific to your clinic that should be reviewed as well.

While this is most certainly not an all-inclusive checklist, it should provide a solid starting point, ensuring your office is providing a well-rounded and compliant training for your CAs. A well-trained CA is most often a confident and happy CA as well, resulting in better patient care, stronger inter-office relations, and lowered turnover rates.

Kathy Mills Chang is a Certified Medical Compliance Specialist (MCS-P). Certified Chiropractic Professional Coder (CCPC), and Certified Clinical Chiropractic Assistant (CCCA). Since 1983, she has been providing chiropractors with reimbursement and compliance training, advice, and tools to improve the financial performance of their practices. Kathy leads a team of 30 at KMC University and is known as one of our profession’s foremost experts on Medicare, documentation and CA development.

Nicki Brooks is a Certified Physician Practice Manager who entered the chiropractic field in 1999 as a Chiropractic Assistant. In the ensuing years, she held a variety of positions in the health care industry acquiring a diverse toolbox of skills. She was instrumental in creating a wide range of Standard Operating Procedure Manuals (SOPs), and in helping her employers create improved and more efficient systematic methods for managing day-to-day functionality. Nicki joined KMC University in 2016, building strong relationships with clients and helping people make their lives and occupations easier and more profitable.

Kathy or any of her team members can be reached at (855) 832-6562 or