Securing Data During Michigan’s Healthcare Upheaval

The University of Michigan recently launched one of the nation’s largest accountable care organizations (ACO) that combines nine major physician groups across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. According to the U-M Health System (UMHS), the Physician Organization of Michigan ACO (POM ACO) focuses on better patient care and lower healthcare costs.

Participating as part of the new federal Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs, the physicians share in Medicare savings if the cost of patient care stays below the national growth rate and if care quality is also improved.

The State of Michigan has been leading the way in efforts to reform healthcare – late last year, the UMHS partnered up with the Great Lakes Information Exchange (GLHIE) in order to facilitate secure patient health data exchange between physicians, health systems and other related organizations. The Michigan Department of Health was awarded $15 million the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program funded by the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information).

The trend of health information exchange and collaborative efforts can also be seen in last year’s mergers of major Michigan health systems. With a focus on delivering better integrated care, Trinity Health and Catholic Health East (CHE) teamed up, and the Beaumont Health System and Henry Ford Health System signed plans to combine assets. Consolidating with the goal of greater efficiencies and reduced long-term hospital operating costs, the mergers come at a time when the nation’s healthcare industry is undergoing a major upheaval.

With the state and nation’s healthcare upheaval come concerns about the challenge of system interoperability and maintaining patient data privacy and security. Integrating health IT networks requires a second look at the different processes and technology that each party brings to the table. It becomes especially imperative for each organization to undergo a HIPAA risk assessment to determine any new vulnerabilities that may compromise patient data integrity.

Maintaining a standard of proven HIPAA compliance among the various vendors during consolidation is necessary to uphold security. Find out how the recent modifications to the HIPAA rules may affect your HIPAA hosting provider and other healthcare vendors by joining our webinar next week:

Title: No More Excuses: HHS Releases Tough Final HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules
Speaker: Brian Balow, Dickinson Wright Law Firm
Register: Online with GoToMeeting
When: Thursday, January 31, 2013 from 2-3 PM ET
Description: On January 17, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services released its long-anticipated modifications to the Privacy, Security, Enforcement, and Breach Notification Rules under HIPAA/HITECH.These modifications leave no doubt that covered entities, business associates, and their subcontractors must understand the application of these Rules to their operations, and must take steps to ensure compliance with these Rules in order to avoid liability.

Join us for a discussion of the modifications, their impact on covered entities, business associates, and subcontractors, and mechanisms for minimizing the risk of HIPAA liability.

Related Links:
Michigan Health Information Exchange (HIE) Invests in Secure Network
In order to ultimately improve patient care and reduce wasted resources, the healthcare industry continues to undergo its digital makeover in an effort to streamline their workflow and step into the 21st century. Complementing the adoption of EHR systems, network … Continue reading →

The Effect of Michigan Health System Mergers on Health IT
Last year, Michigan saw widespread health system mergers, with a focus on the need to deliver integrated care. Part of the change may come from a shift in how healthcare is sold, meaning a switch from the traditional fee-for-service model …Continue reading →

How the Final Omnibus Rule Affects HIPAA Cloud Computing Providers
The long-awaited final modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement and Breach Rules were introduced Thursday. The 563-word document outlines the changes that were initially slated for implementation last summer (remember the omnibus rule?). So how do these modifications affect HIPAA cloud providers? …Continue reading →

References:
1,800 Michigan Doctors Launch Effort to Improve Healthcare for Medicare Patient

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