Data Privacy

This past January, the AAA hosted a webinar presented by EMS/healthcare Attorneys Matthew Streger, Margaret Keavney, and Rebecca Ragkoski, titled Cybersecurity, Top 10 Considerations in Healthcare and How to Address Them. During this very informative webinar, Matt, Margaret, and Rebecca covered one of the biggest issues facing EMS and other healthcare providers today, data security. If you did not get chance to listen in on this program, it is available on-demand at the AAA website. As highlighted in their webinar, data security and data breach concerns are one of the most frequently encountered issues facing EMS agencies as healthcare providers but also as employers. Ensuring that patient and employee protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) is adequately protected from access or intrusion is critically important. Alabama becomes the 50th state to enact data breach requirements for all individuals and businesses in the state. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides a great summary of the new breach requirements in several article resources published this week. The National Conference on State Legislatures is a great resource for learning the laws that apply to your organization. Of course, it is recommended that all members engage a law firm...

This content is available only to AAA members.
Log In or Register

HIPAA and Mobile Devices: What Your Service Needs to Know

For ambulance services, HIPAA compliance is a particularly sensitive issue. Because of the sensitive nature of the health data that EMS and EMT professionals deal with on a daily basis, HIPAA Privacy and Security standards must be carefully adhered to. This issue becomes even more sensitive when you consider that most of the data collected during pre-hospital care will likely be collected, tracked, and documented on a mobile device. Laptops, smartphones, and tablets are indispensable tools for ambulance care. Most of these devices will have access to electronic health records (EHR) platforms, which will in turn be connected to the rest of a hospital’s EHR data. While mobile devices can provide convenience in life-or-death situations, they are also particularly vulnerable to the risk of a data breach. A data breach of unsecured health information can lead to serious HIPAA violations and put patient privacy at risk. The kind of health information that these devices have access to is called protected health information, or PHI. PHI is any demographic information that can be used to identify a patient. Common examples of PHI include names, dates of birth, medical information, insurance ID numbers, addresses, full facial photos, and telephone numbers, to name...

This content is available only to AAA members.
Log In or Register

5 Can’t-Miss EMS Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to gain information and insight on a variety of topics.  With the intimidating number of podcasts on the topic of EMS and leadership available, it can take a bit of time to find the one that’s right for you.  I have been a fan of podcasts for several years now, and while some of my favorites have dropped off over the years, I am certain there are many new favorites out there waiting to be discovered. If you’re not yet listening to podcasts, I encourage you to start exploring – here is a quick list of some of my current favorites in EMS and leadership to get you started. (* We’ve included links are iTunes, but these podcasts can be found on just about any podcast service.) Prehospital Emergency Care Podcast This is a newer podcast, and quickly landed on my subscribed list for the obvious reason; it is the official podcast for the NAEMSP. The first few episodes were recorded during the most recent NAEMSP annual meeting, in the most recent the hosts spend time interviewing authors of studies published in the PEC journal, discussing results questioning when, and how, changes should be implemented...

This content is available only to AAA members.
Log In or Register

AAA’s New URL: Ambulance.org

Welcome to www.ambulance.org, AAA’s new domain! After many years at www.the-aaa.org, we are proud to announce the successful transition to our new easier-to-type, easier-to-understand online home. A few www.ambulance.org tips: All usernames and passwords remain unchanged. (Forgot your password? No problem! Reset it here.) Annual and Stars of Life have moved, too! Does something on the site look or behave unexpectedly? If so, please clear your cache—you could have an old version of the site “stuck” in your browser’s temporary storage. Need help? AAA staff is happy to assist at info@ambulance.org or 703-610-9018. Thanks for your support of AAA, and we look forward to serving you for many years to come!  

Patient Satisfaction and the Collections Conundrum

Emergency Strikes The year was 2001—seems like a distant memory. Expecting our first child, my wife and I were living in Modesto, California, thinking about cradles and nurseries. We were so excited—the little one we’d been expecting was on his way! Excitement quickly changed to deep concern as we learned there were some major complications with the pregnancy and our baby was in serious jeopardy. Life’s pause button was pushed as everything else in the world came to a screeching halt. An ambulance transport and emergency delivery later, we found ourselves in our new home—the neonatal intensive care unit. For the next four months, we worked with medical teams around the clock to slowly usher our new 1-pound, 4-ounce son, Noah (now 15 years old), into the world. Financial Domino Effects This was an incredibly stressful time in our lives. Of all the things that burdened us, one of the most memorable was the nearly $5,000 invoice we received for a specific service. With no clue how we would pay this, I finally worked up the courage to pick up the phone and call the number on the invoice. The provider was demanding immediate payment before sending the bill to...

This content is available only to AAA members.
Log In or Register

Ransomware Alert

A few days ago, multiple news agencies reported that there has been a large scale cyber-attack on healthcare agency networks worldwide.  The New York Times and the Washington Post reported yesterday that hackers have exploited malware that was stolen from the National Security Agency (NSA) and have executed an attack on numerous healthcare agency networks, including the Britain’s public health system.  The hackers have essentially held the system hostage freezing users from accessing data.  The cyber-attack has spread to nearly 74 countries, including India, Africa, and several in South America countries.  This cyber-attack highlights the vulnerability of many healthcare providers, including ambulance services who have become increasingly technology dependent. If your service has not performed an Risk Analysis as required under the Security Rule by the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), or have not performed the analysis in the last year, I suggest that you do so as soon as possible.  If members are uncertain or concerned about how they can come into compliance with the requirements of HIPAA, please contact the consultants available as part of their AAA membership.