Giving Thanks on this Special Day
During this Thanksgiving holiday which embraces reflection and giving thanks, the MediPro team has come up with an abbreviated list of some things we are truly thankful for…
- MediPro clients: Providers, Office Administrators, Billers, Practice Staff, and IT Professionals. Without you, our company wouldn’t be possible.
- Our visionary leader and President, Marc Beck. In December, MediPro will celebrate 20 years of helping healthcare professionals nation-wide with affordable medical software solutions.
- The team members at MediPro: Each of whom continue to be passionate, knowledgeable and strive for excellence every day. They are an integral part of our foundation.
- Surviving ICD-10: While no one knew what the outcome was going to be, a majority of our clients had little or no issues with this industry change. We applaud their preparedness and taking advantage of the educational webinars as well as tools that were available to them.
- Our industry partners: From cloud-based PM/EHR solutions to Lab integrations, we are thankful for the helpful relationships and understanding our goal of modernizing independent medical practices with progressive technology.
- Good Health, Family and Friends: As we continue to age, the marvels of medicine are prolonging life spans. For those who are fortunate enough to have close family and friends, this support system is undoubtedly one to cherish.
Chip-enabled Credit Cards and your Medical Practice
The EMV Transition. Sorting Fact from Fiction.
A lot has been written about the ongoing transition from magnetic stripe to chip cards, and in spite of best efforts to communicate “just the facts,” a few misunderstandings have surfaced. Our goal at TSYS Merchant Solutions has always been to provide open and honest information about the transition. In that spirit, here are a few myths we’ve been hearing, along with facts (from our own experts and industry sources including “Chips in the U.S. – The Facts” by Dr. Toni Merschen ), that debunk them.
Myth #1. Anyone who accepts card-present transactions must upgrade to chip technology.
There is no mandate forcing businesses accepting in-person (or card-present) transactions to adopt chip enabled terminals and other technology. However, there is a risk. If you accept a chip card transaction (by swiping the magnetic stripe on the back of a chip card), and the transaction turns out to be fraudulent, you will be liable for all costs and fines associated with the transaction. The October 1 liability shift transferred liability from issuers to the party that is least chip enabled in the event of a fraudulent chip card transaction.
Myth #2. If I didn’t upgrade to a chip card terminal by the October 1 liability shift deadline, I won’t be able to accept card transactions.
Not true. The liability shift deadline did not render all non-chip-enabled terminals inoperable. Your non-chip-enabled terminal still works and you can accept card transactions with it, as long as you are comfortable assuming the added risk. Again, if you accept a fraudulent chip card transaction and do not have a chip-enabled terminal, you are liable for all costs and fines.
Myth #3. Transitioning to chip cards doesn’t reduce fraud.
The fact is, EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa–these are the three companies who originally created the standard) has been a tremendous success in preventing fraud around the world. Wherever EMV is implemented comprehensively, fraud is reduced. Regularly published fraud statistics from many national banking and regulatory authorities such as the Banque de France, the UK Payments Administration, and Interac in Canada prove the point. EMV reduces counterfeit and lost and stolen fraud in card-present POS and ATM applications, and provides strong, dynamic cardholder authentication in card-not present (CNP) scenarios.1
Myth #4. EMV is not secure enough.
As a matter of fact, EMV is based on strong cryptography and elaborate key management; a fundamental EMV principle is to digitally sign payment data to ensure transaction integrity. As opposed to magnetic stripe technology, a chip is extremely difficult to crack; card authentication and PIN verification are performed automatically and objectively by the chip. Although EMV has been heavily scrutinized by criminals and the academics, there have been no reported real-life, in-market, or business relevant breaks of chip card technology.2
eBook: EMV, Tokenization, & Encryption: The Path to Securing Your Small Business
We offer a look at what’s driving the EMV transition and what it means for business owners accepting in-person or card-present transactions. Download Now
Myth #5: EMV is already outdated and of no use in a world moving to mobile and contactless payments.
Ever since the first EMV implementation nearly a decade ago, EMV specifications have been continuously monitored by EMVCo and other chip card stakeholders and updated to meet the changing needs of the payment industry. And, most mobile and contactless payments are based on EMV specifications.3
Myth #6: The business case for upgrading to EMV in the U.S. is not positive; the benefits do not outweigh the costs.
While this may have been true five or ten years ago, today the U.S. business case is definitely positive. The cost of fraud in the U.S. continues to rise, not only the direct cost of lost goods and services, but the additional costs associated with protecting against fraud and cleaning up after an incident. For example, in the wake of recent well-known data breaches, millions of cards had to be reissued, and customer service costs for issuers and merchants increased. Balance these higher expenses against the lower cost of producing chip cards (thanks to increasing efficiency and lower chip costs), the lower cost of POS terminals, and the fact that big issuers, acquirers and processors in the U.S. are already issuing chip cards, and you come up with a positive business case for making the switch.4
1 “Chips in the U.S. – The Facts” by Dr. Toni Merschen
Source: TSYS Merchant Solutions | 10/21/2015
NOTE: MediPro, Inc. offers several different credit card processing programs which have a solid integration with the CureMD PM/EHR total solution and the Lytec PM software. As patient payment responsibilities become more prevalent, medical offices need to be able to accept credit cards with low processing fees. Simply fax MediPro a current monthly credit card processing statement to 1.888.232.6556 and we can show you the potential cost savings!
Physicians stand up against mergers of powerful insurers
Two marriages are in the works among the nation’s largest health insurers—and physicians are speaking up, refusing to forever hold their peace. The proposed mergers, which would reduce competition in the health insurance market, pose a substantial risk of harm to patients and physicians in terms of health care access, quality and affordability.
Health insurers have claimed that the mergers—Aetna’s acquisition of Humana and Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna—will lead to greater efficiencies and innovative payment and care management programs. But is the claim based on fact?
“There is no evidence supporting the insurers’ claim,” the AMA said in a letter (log in) delivered to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General earlier this week. The letter points to studies and analyses that speak to how the opposite is often the case.
The mergers would exceed federal antitrust guidelines put in place to preserve competition around the country. According to special AMA analyses released in September, the proposed mergers of Anthem and Cigna (log in) and of Aetna and Humana (log in) would exceed federal antitrust guidelines designed to preserve competition in as many as 97 metropolitan areas within 17 states. The mergers also would raise significant competitive concerns in additional areas. All told, nearly one-half of all states could see reduced competition in local health insurance markets.
The AMA letter urges the Department of Justice to “block the proposed mergers,” emphasizing that “fostering competition, not consolidation, benefits American consumers through lower prices, better quality and greater choice.”
How would the merger affect physicians and patients?
The proposed mergers would give the merging health insurers monopoly power in the sale of insurance to consumers and create a highly concentrated health insurance market where little competition exists. When no competing options are available, these insurers could raise patients’ premiums and may no longer feel required to develop ways to improve quality and lower costs to compete in a healthy market.
The proposed mergers also would give the insurers monopsony power, or buyer power, over physicians. This would allow the insurers to control physician payment rates, making it impossible for physicians to make practice investments that would improve patient access and care. Without competitive contract terms and rates, physicians may be unable to afford new equipment and technology, struggle to train staff and be forced to spend less time with patients as they work to keep their practices afloat.
In competitive markets, however, consumers are in the driver’s seat. If insurers were to obtain further monopsony power, harm would come to consumers.
“Competition in health insurance, not consolidation, is the right prescription for health insurer markets,” the AMA said. “Competition will lower premiums … [and] allow physicians to bargain for contract terms that touch all aspects of patient care.”
In addition to this week’s letter, the AMA has testified twice before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.
AMA Board of Trustees Member Barbara L. McAneny, MD, delivered testimony at the Sept. 10 hearing on the state of competition in the health care marketplace, where she told members of Congress, “Providing patients with more choices for health care services and coverage stimulates innovation and incentivizes improved care, lower costs and expanded access.”
AMA President-Elect Andrew W. Gurman, MD, testified at the Sept. 29 hearing on examining the proposed health insurance mergers and the consequent impact on competition, where he urged federal and state regulators, “to closely scrutinize the proposed health insurer mergers and utilize enforcement tools to protect consumers and preserve competition.”
The AMA is offering continued assistance to state medical associations around the country as they assess how to position themselves regarding the proposed mergers and the actions of their state regulatory agencies.
If the mergers are allowed, the impact could be detrimental to physicians’ ability to provide the quality care they strive for each day, while simultaneously increasing patients’ premiums and limiting their access to the care they deserve.
As published in the AMA Wire
By AMA staff writer Troy Parks
How Millennials Choose Their Doctors
Are you online? Does your medical practice have a web presence? Are your patients talking about your practice, your staff, and you—in positive terms, of course—on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms?
If you answered “no” to any of those questions, you might be missing out on reaching a sizeable patient population.
For example, a 3,000-person survey from Nuance found that 70% of patients aged 18 to 24 choose a primary care physician based on recommendations from family and friends.
And how do they get those recommendations?
“Millennials have a strong, almost compulsive need to share information,” says Ann Fishman, president of Generational Targeted Marketing. “Social [media] networks help them do that.”
The Social Generation
Fishman points out that millennials are the first generation that grew up in a digital world. They are their own press agents, and they can be yours as well. The key is taking advantage of their communication compulsion and leverage word of mouth marketing. And it starts with creating a website that’s clean, easy to navigate and interactive.
“Millennials have really strong rules about what they expect from a website,” Fishman explains. “They want good visuals and very little copy. Too many contacts are lost by poor, unappealing websites. Millennials think, if they don’t know how to create a good website, how can they possibly understand me?”
But reaching millennials goes beyond having an attractive, functional website. Fishman explains that this population is concerned about their health. They research doctors in chat rooms, on blogs, and through their friends. And then they make a decision.
“In their lifetime, millennials will send out at least 20,000 tweets,” says Fishman, noting that this patient group will post their thoughts, feelings, and experiences not only day to day, sometimes at the moment. They might post: “I’m waiting in the doctor’s office.” “I’ve been here 45 minutes.” “They spend no time with me, and don’t seem to care.”
Those tweets, good and bad, are being read by all of their friends and family. And one tweet by a millennial patient, Fishman says, reaches at least 10 others.
Walk in Their Shoes
Fishman says that millennials, as a social generation, want to interact with everyone. They’ve grown up with the Internet, and are continually responding to everything from corporate questions to presidential surveys. Their everyday lives are characterized by instant messaging, tweets and texts, and posts on Facebook. And they have very short attention spans.
“So when you hand out that long, fill-in sheet in the office, and the doctor doesn’t bother to look at it or acknowledge it to the patient, it’s a waste of their time and the doctor’s time,” Fishman says. “Just have them fill out what you absolutely, positively need to know.”
Fishman also explains that millennials expect physicians to understand their lives. For example, women—thanks in part to Title 9 legislation—are much stronger today. Their role models are stronger and savvier. And they’re much more health and fitness conscious.
“I would recommend to a clinic of doctors to sponsor a young women’s baseball or softball team,” she says. “That way they will know your brand. And when they need a doctor, they will think about the group that supported them.”
That’s much more important than marketing, Fishman adds.
“Millennials don’t trust marketing. They are going to trust the relationship they have with their friends more than the relationships you have with the marketing company. But the relationship they have with their doctor is important. Take that extra minute or two and realize that this generation does expect to be asked their opinion.”
Power in Numbers
Do you want to impact your practice’s bottom line in a positive way? Fishman points out that there are almost 80 million millennials.
“They are an enormous group of people,” she says. “That’s a huge pool to draw from.”
But to do so, it’s essential to understand their world, and how they like to communicate.
“Understand the influence of their friends, and their reliance on the Internet,” Fishman says. “You don’t have to like them or be like them or watch their TV shows, but you do have to understand their world.”
And don’t make promises you can’t keep.
“Doctors should say, ‘If you have a problem going on, email me,’ but only if the doctor means it,” Fishman says. “Because if you tell them that and you don’t mean it, they’re going to go to a different doctor.”
Source: MD Magazine | Ed Rabinowitz | 11/2/15
One in Five Pediatricians Say Goodbye to Families Who Refuse Vaccines
Vaccination is a hot topic of controversy, to say the very least. But if patients refuse to get vaccinated against preventable diseases such as measles and mumps, some doctors will go as far as to dismiss the families from their practices.
“Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages providers from dismissing families, some providers continue to do so,” Sean O’Leary, MD, MPH, one of the researchers on the University of Colorado School of Medicine team, said in a news release.
From June to October 2012, a total of 534 pediatricians and family physicians were surveyed on their patient interactions. Of those, 83% reported that in any given month, at least 1% of parents refuse to get one or more vaccines for their child – 20% said that they encounter more than 5% in a month.
In this situation, 21% of pediatricians and 4% of family physicians always or often times dismiss the family.
The analysis filed physicians by region – Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. Those in the South were more likely to say goodbye to vaccine-refusing patients. In addition, physicians in urban, non-inner city/suburban were more likely to dismiss families when compared to those in inner cities and rural areas.
According to the report in Pediatrics, the practice was more common in private practices as opposed to community/hospital based or other health organizations. The authors said that this is not necessarily surprising since physicians may not be allowed to dismiss patients in these settings.
While doctors have different ways to handle patients who choose not to vaccinate their children, is dismissing them the “right” approach?
“Instead of dismissing families, we need a better understanding of the reasons for vaccine refusal to find evidence-based strategies for communication that are effective at convincing hesitant parents to vaccinate,” said O’Leary, an associate professor of pediatrics at the school.
One of the reasons that parents stray away from vaccines is the belief that they are linked to autism – regardless of the fact that it has never been scientifically proven. During the first Republican presidential debate back in September, candidate Donald Trump suggested spacing out vaccination doses to make the practice safer – which the American Association of Pediatrics shut down by responding that that would leave the child at risk for disease.
Moving forward, it may not be a matter of deciding if dismissing those who refuse vaccination is the proper response. But, as O’Leary said, it is important to understand why parents do this and learn what can be done to show them the error of their ways.