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Four Types of Identity Fraud on the Upswing

Four Types of Identity Fraud on the Upswing

If you thought that the promising (albeit modest) drop in the total dollars stolen by identity thieves in 2015 was a harbinger of things to come, think again.

According to the just released 2017 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin Research, the number of victims of this crime—in all its permutations—climbed to a record high of 15.4 million last year. And, despite the fact that the average amount per fraud went down, the total cost topped $16 billion, also an all-time high. What does that say about efforts to rein in identity thieves?

“We’ve gotten pretty good at closing the door once the horse has left the barn,” says Al Pascual, Javelin senior vice president and head of fraud and security. But we need work when it comes to “barring the door” to begin with.

The research, funded by LifeLock, also made clear that even if you don’t maintain a large online presence, taking steps to protect your identity is a smart move. Offline consumers are less likely to experience fraud, Pascual explains. But when it happens it’s worse, because it takes more time to detect. On the other hand, if you’re highly connected, your risk is much higher than average. But you’re also likely to detect—and shut down—attempts at fraud more quickly. How do you protect yourself? “If you’re not digitally inclined, sign-up for a credit protection service,” Pascual says. “If you are, don’t use the same passwords even across retailers.”

The study, now in its 14th consecutive year, highlights a number of specific places identity fraud and theft are on the rise or particularly troubling. Here’s a look at what they are and how to protect yourself:

Card Not Present Fraud

What you need to know: Incidences of this type of fraud, where a thief uses your card number without having the actual card, rose 40 percent last year. Pascual expects those gains to continue. “We’ve gone digital because it’s convenient,” he says. “So have criminals.”

How to guard against it: Take advantage if your credit card offers ways to obscure your payment details, advises Dr. Stephen Coggeshall, Chief Analytics and Science Officer of ID Analytics. Some credit card issuers and fraud protection services will send you alerts if a charge is made and your card is not present. Do that as well. And pay attention to your credit card statements, watching, in particular, for charges you don’t understand.

New Account Fraud

What you need to know: This form of fraud, where a thief steals enough of your identifying information to open an account in your name, is on the upswing. Incidents nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015, and this year showed “almost the same degree of growth,” Pascual said. Importantly, the new accounts being opened are not just at traditional lenders, but also at alternative ones, including payday lenders and peer-to-peer lenders. Those are tougher to track.

How to guard against it: Monitoring your credit, by either taking a very consistent look at your own reports or having a service do it for you, is the key here. One advantage of some services, notes Pascual, is that they look beyond the item on your credit reports to checking and savings accounts and alternative lenders. Also, it sounds run of the mill, but open every piece of mail you get from a financial institution—even those you don’t patronize. Often, you’ll receive notice when an account is opened in your name, giving you a chance to shut it down and alert the credit bureaus.

Account Takeover Fraud

What you need to know: This type of fraud is distinguished by the fact that a criminal is essentially trying to usurp control for a pre-existing account that you’ve set up. Signs that it might be happening include receiving change of password or change of address notices that aren’t prompted by your actions. “These cases result in the highest average loss amount, and sometimes a consumer can be stuck for more of the bill,” says Pascual, explaining that it can be difficult to prove that you didn’t take the actions involving your account, such as removing or spending funds.

How to guard against it: Don’t reuse passwords across sites—particularly across financial ones. Criminals will take the password list from one breach and try those passwords at every major bank across the country to see if they can be used. Tell your financial institutions you want multiple notifications—by both text and email—if actions are taken on your account. “The idea is to make it harder for communication to be severed between you and the institutions,” says Pascual. And if two-factor authentication is available for entry to any of your financial sites, use it.

Sophisticated Phishing

What you need to know: The phishers have gotten better at their game. “We’re used to seeing phishing with poor misspelling, bad grammar, and poor formatting,” says Coggeshall. Criminals have moved beyond that. Today, corporate emails are being spoofed and employees are being sent letters from the CEO or finance department that look legitimate. In some cases, hackers take the time to learn things about you specifically, then target you with a specially crafted phish.

How to guard against it: If someone contacts you that you’re not used to hearing from and asks for any sort of financial or identifying information, a bell should go off in your head. Don’t click on the email. Don’t give out information by phone or text. Instead, back away and—if you believe it might be real—initiate the communication yourself to figure out if the need is legitimate.

LifeLock is a partner with the Medical Association, and physician members receive discounted rates on LifeLock memberships.

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Federal Regulations Stipulate Physicians Need a Translator…

Federal Regulations Stipulate Physicians Need a Translator…

And, we have a solution. The Medical Association has partnered with CTS Language Link to deliver multilingual interpretation and translation communication services to meet the growing needs of your practice. As of Oct. 16, 2016, physicians receiving financial assistance from HHS, except solely Medicare Part B, must provide language assistance for persons with limited English proficiency (Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act – Nondiscrimination Provisions).

Medical Association members will receive a 20% discount from CTS LanguageLink from standard rates. With over-the-phone interpretation services, physicians have access to more than 240+ languages, and the call center is available 24/7/365 with no monthly minimums, no monthly fees, and no volume requirements. The rate per minute is $1.40 for all 240 languages and dialects for Medical Association members. (Standard rates are $1.75 per min and $100 set-up fee.)

CTS LanguageLink provides document translation for 110+ languages. Document translation quotes are provided at no charge. Physicians can email documents to be translated and receive a quote within 24 hours.

Once physician members sign up for CTS LanguageLink, it takes about 1-2 business days to start utilizing services. CTS LanguageLink has established and extensive language resources, utilizing only native-speaking, professional translators and interpreters, uniquely qualified for your project needs. CTS LanguageLink is a recognized leader in providing the most trusted multilingual communication services to a wide range of corporate and government clients since 1991.

Click here for more information and to register.

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Can You Trust that Shopping App?

Can You Trust that Shopping App?

Just because you downloaded a shopping app from a legitimate app store doesn’t mean the app itself is legitimate.

Recent news reports note that fake retail and product apps have shown up in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store. The timing couldn’t be worse, given the holiday shopping season is upon us.

The New York Times reported the counterfeit apps have masqueraded as familiar retail chains, including Foot Locker, Nordstrom, Zappos and others. The New York Post said an app bearing the Coach label offered 20 percent off. Coach told the newspaper it doesn’t have an app. CNET reports similar issues.

While some of the apps are relatively harmless, the Times reported there are risks to be concerned about:

  • Providing your credit card information could lead to potential financial fraud
  • Some fake apps could contain malware that can steal personal information or even lock the phone until the user pays a ransom.
  • Some fakes encourage users to log in using their social media credentials, potentially exposing sensitive personal information.

What should you do? Be on the lookout for apps that signal they’re not real — butchered English, a lack of app reviews and no history of previous app versions.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re downloading a legitimate app? Go to your chosen retailer’s website to look for links to download the company’s real apps. Those links should take you to the retailer’s legitimate app on the app stores.

*Article reprinted with permission from LifeLock. LifeLock is a partner with the Medical Association, and members receive discounts on memberships. Click here for more information.

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Cruise Deals for Alaska in 2017 — Special Rates for Association Members!

Cruise Deals for Alaska in 2017 — Special Rates for Association Members!

Experience Alaska’s majesty next summer aboard a Princess Cruise! Book now though Nov. 16 with your travel partners at Two Sisters Travel, and take advantage of the 3-for-Free Sale Event offering complimentary cabin upgrades, onboard credits, and free gratuities. Package your cruise experience with 3-4 nights on land to explore Denali National Park.

Get a no-obligation cruise quote online or call Two Sisters Travel at (843) 284-3241 to discuss planning your next vacation whether it’s Alaska, Caribbean, Europe or Walt Disney World. Two Sisters Travel offers the Medical Association’s members free, easy and stress-free concierge travel planning services. Call or click today!

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Save more than $1,300 on Last-Minute Disney Cruises

Save more than $1,300 on Last-Minute Disney Cruises

Take advantage of incredible last minute Disney Cruise deals and share the splendor of the holidays aboard a Very MerryTime Cruise.

A winter wonderland awaits you aboard each Disney Cruise ship as well as on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay! You’ll enjoy special holiday-themed entertainment, decorations, and activities, including:

Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic –Disney characters lead holiday carols and the lighting of the glittering, three-deck-tall tree.

Winter Wonderland Ball – Celebrate the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, with your favorite Disney friends at a glamorous ball.

Holiday Carolers – Dickens-inspired characters and carolers carry the spirit of the holidays throughout the ship while singing holiday classics, sometimes with the help of favorite Disney friends.

All of these special events are in addition to the activities you already love, like meet and greets with Santa, building gingerbread houses, listening to holiday storytellers and dancing at the tropical-themed “Deck the Deck Holiday Party.”

With last minute rates as low as $130 per person, per night you don’t want to miss this opportunity to spend quality time with your family this holiday season! These rates are available on select 3, 4, or 7-night Caribbean & Bahamas itineraries sailing from Port Canaveral or Miami.

Hurry, these deals won’t last long. Call Tara McCoy at Two Sisters Travel at (843) 284-3241 for details, or get a no-obligation quote online! Become a Facebook fan at facebook.com/twosisterstravel. Two Sisters Travel is an official partner of the Medical Association.

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2017 Chronic Care Management Changes and Outsourcing Chronic Care

2017 Chronic Care Management Changes and Outsourcing Chronic Care

Medicare’s shift towards value-based care means the traditional model of health care reimbursement has just had a major shakeup. With value-based care, providers’ payments are now based on the value of care physicians deliver to patients and their health outcomes.

Patients with chronic conditions often require greater care outside of the office. Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began paying for Chronic Care Management (CCM) services. Requiring at least 20 minutes of non-face-to-face care, providers receive an average reimbursement of $42 per patient per month with two or more chronic conditions. CCM has grown in popularity and many providers are seeing the increase in revenue. However, a number of physicians are still struggling to incorporate chronic care management into their practice. While the CMS requirements of CCM may be overwhelming, chances are many physicians are already managing Medicare patients with two or more chronic conditions and not getting the extra reimbursement to help with the added care.

The 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule was finalized on Nov. 2, 2016. Providers will see payment changes for care management services in 2017. There are several changes that CMS has proposed regarding chronic care management. These changes are set to make billing rules within CCM simpler as well as expand the payment for complex CCM, including patients with behavioral health conditions. The new fee schedule rule will offer a new set of codes for providing care management to those patients.

Highlights from the 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule regarding CCM

  • Simplification of CCM billing rules
  • Payment for complex CCM patients (CPT code 99487)
  • Supervision requirement change for CCM by Rural Health Clinics (RHC) and Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHC)
  • Pay for non-face-to-face extended E & M services

Part of the simplification of the CCM billing rules means the possibility of no longer requiring a consent form from the patient, but rather the provider would simply document in the patient’s medical record that CCM information was provided to the patient. Another benefit of this final rule is that initiating visits no longer have to be face-to-face office visits, unless the patient is considered a new patient or the patient has not been seen within the year prior to commencement of CCM. However, if providers do initiate CCM on a face-to-face visit, they can use the new GPPP7 to bill for that visit and receive a higher payment of $63.68.

Along with these changes to CCM for 2017, there is also a 3.5 percent increase in the CCM payment rate for 2017. The current rate in 2016 for CPT code 99490 is $40.82. This increase would make the 2017 rate $42.21. For complex CCM payments (CPT code 99487), the proposed rate for 2017 is $92.66. The complex CCM, CPT code 99487 requires 60 minutes of non-face-to-face care per month. CMS has also proposed an add-on code for complex CCM (CPT 99489) for each additional 30-minute increments of non-face-to-face time, at a proposed 2017 rate of $46.87. Please note: reimbursement rates vary by region.

MediSYS has outsourced full-service CCM to ease the burden on providers of meeting the CCM requirements while saving providers time and resources to enhance patient care.

“Providers have been very responsive to outsource chronic care management services because of the additional help they receive that saves them time and brings in additional revenue,” explained Jennifer Woodward, director of operations with MediSYS.

Outsourcing your CCM solution can help you increase revenue and expand patient satisfaction as well as provide you better patient access through a broader clinical depiction. CCM will also prepare providers for 2017 and the changes that MACRA has implemented in the healthcare industry to improve patient care and focus on value-based quality goals.

“With MIPS starting next year, providers are working hard to prepare for the changes that coming. By outsourcing this portion of the program, it provides them more time to work on the other aspects of the quality payment program to report effective care coordination,” Woodward said.

For information on MediSYS electronic health records and practice management solutions as well as outsourcing CCM services, please contact MediSYS at sales@medisysinc.com and visit the website at www.medisysinc.com. MediSYS is an official partner with the Medical Association.

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Help Your Patients Save on Their Medications

Help Your Patients Save on Their Medications

The CDC reports that Americans spend more on prescription drugs than people in any other country – some $45 billion in out-of-pocket dollars in the last year alone. With that in mind, the Alabama Rx Card is reminding physicians that the Alabama Rx Card is a free option to lower out-of-pocket prescription cost for their patients who aren’t insured or who take prescription drugs that aren’t covered by their health insurance plans.

The Alabama Rx Card can save your patients up to 75 percent off the retail price for FDA-approved medications. Alabama Rx Card has helped Alabama residents save more than $25 million since its inception in 2007.

Your patients can log on to www.alamedical.org to print a free Alabama Rx Card, search for participating pharmacies, and compare medication pricing.

Physicians may request a supply of custom cards mailed directly to their office at no cost by contacting the program’s development director, Heidi Barousse, at heidi@alabamarxcard.com or 844-818-9200. Alabama Rx Card is a partner with the Medical Association.

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The Importance of Accurate Timekeeping

The Importance of Accurate Timekeeping

Accurate and up-to-date record keeping is one of the most crucial elements of a successful business – no matter what size. Chief among these types of record keeping is timekeeping – keeping track of the hours the members of your team bills to the company, as well as time off for vacations and sick leave.

Why is accurate timekeeping so critical? Here’s a look at some of the problems that can arise if it isn’t accurate:

  • Wasted time. If you don’t have a precise record of how much time your workforce is really investing, then there’s no way to judge your return on investment and resulting company profitability. You also prevent yourself from being able to identify processes that are inefficient (for example, accurate timekeeping can help you determine if there’s a particular task that takes your employees a long time to complete on a regular basis, and therefore could benefit from automation, additional training, and so on).
  • Wasted money. Small business owners especially need to spend their money wisely. Even if your timekeeping records are only off by a small amount, the resulting loss in profitability can really mount over time – and you may end up spending even more money trying to correct mistakes.
  • Tax compliance issues. As we’ve discussed before, tax compliance is not a nice-to-have. It’s a necessity. Accurate timekeeping ensures accurate tax filing for each of your employees.
  • Employee (and employer) quality of life. Your employees want to be compensated appropriately for the time they spend on the job. And you want to make sure that you’re protected against time theft, human errors, and other potentially big problems. By ensuring that both issues are being addressed efficiently and professionally, you make everyone’s work-life a lot more enjoyable.

*Editor’s Note: Apex Payroll is a partner with the Medical Association. To receive up to 20% off your payroll fees, and to discover other Apex Payroll services, click here.

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