Sep 25

Yoga for Mental Health

YogaThe Department of Health and Human Services has recognizes September as National Yoga Month! This can mean experiencing a full week of yoga, free, at a local gym or yoga studio. While over 1,600 yoga studios nationwide are participating in free yoga week (find them here), there must be a good reason for a government organization to recognize the yoga in such a way.

The fact is, yoga is a wonderful way to not only maintain flexibility, but considered a practice for improving the mind and body. An ancient practice from India, yoga is a way to both improve your mental health and physical posture.

Yoga has been discovered to:

  • Resolve chronic low-back pain
  • Reducing heart rate and blood pressure
  • Relieve anxiety and depression

One of the biggest benefits of yoga is the ability to alleviate stress. The focused breathing and mental state reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. These are all great benefits, but how exactly does yoga do this? We may feel silly holding a downward facing dog pose or holding your legs in the air, but the reality is that this disorienting array of bodily discombobulation can actually make a lot of things in our bodies RIGHT.

Yoga does this by actually changing the way that our nerves fire. Blood gases, bodily fluids change and as a result, encourage our bodies to relax. Tension, adrenalin, and bodily stress turns to calm and relaxation. Many proclaim that yoga can tone up your internal organs, spinal nerves, elongate muscles and slow brain/nerve firing.

For more info on the benefits of yoga, check out this additional info from the National Institutes of Health>>

Sep 23

Ethical Advertising for Medical Professionals

Ethical CounselingMost medical professions are subject to a certain level of marketing for business growth and improvement. However, when advertising for a medical service, should a therapist or medical professional not be held to a higher standard as in all practices? Unethical practices in advertising are rampant among the medical community – how can we keep ourselves accountable? Morality and a code of ethics should be taken into account when convincing the outsider, the patient, to come to your practice. Not only will this manage expectations, but prevent disagreements, poor service, and potential malpractice.

Therapists and for-profit medical professionals must develop a strong ethical code for healing as well as a strong business strategy. While this may seem to threaten the profit of the private practice, many healers underestimate the costs of doing business.

New business owners of all types deal with:

  • Unexpected expenses,
  • Training,
  • Illness,
  • Vacations,
  • Taxes,
  • Slow times in their business

And these costs DO add up. Unexpected expenses and unfortunate events can lead to any human questioning their ethics.

As with our patients, it’s important to properly diagnose ourselves. Decisions based out of fear or panic can be incredibly harmful to ourselves and others. Successful therapists must find the best way to provide the best services, pay the bills, and promote oneself with integrity.

How can one advertise with integrity? There are 4 simple mainstays to guide you:

  1. Never advertise something you don’t believe in.
  2. Never work with a patient you don’t believe you can help.
  3. Don’t be afraid to refer patients out! Offer someone better suited to the patient.
  4. NEVER advertise psychotherapy as “coaching” to avoid meeting state laws.

Most clients do not know or understand therapy or psychotherapy. Develop realistic expectations with the patient by clearly mapping out what the patient will be doing. Understanding is key to successful growth.

There is a lot of apprehension with patients who have never been through therapy sessions. It’s your job to put them at ease and by making psychotherapy a clear, comforting, progressive process for them. Good luck and stay strong!

Sep 18

5 Ways to Tell if You Need Directors and Officers Insurance

Nonprofit organizations are a mainstay of our society. However, as a medical professional participating in charitable work, you could be held liable for protection of your volunteers! Nonprofit board members are open to this risk when they run an NPO, and many are not aware that they may be held personally liable for the actions of the organization.

According to Risk and Insurance Management’s 2012 Cost of Risk Survey, “36% of those who purchased directors and officers insurance reported having a claim in the last 10 years. Nonprofits had the highest proportion of those reporting claims at 63%, followed by public companies (33%) and private companies (27%).”

How can you tell if you are at risk?

  1. Are you a member of a nonprofit organization? If so, you could be held liable. If your role is: volunteer,Directors and Officers, at risk, liability, nonprofit liability employee, director, or officer, you are at risk!
  2. Are you protected under the Volunteer Protection Act? As a volunteer or employee, this may be enough to prevent you from being held responsible for negligence or misconduct on behalf of the NPO. However, as a director or officer, the VPA does nothing to safeguard you in those instances. 
  3. Are your organization’s net assets lower than your personal assets? In most NPOs, this is the case, and can leave the directors and officers even more exposed to threats.
  4. Are you a board member? If so, you also have a legal responsibility to exercise due care. Your responsibilities carry extra liability!
  5. Are you following your organizations mission, by laws, and rules to the letter? If your organization has a failure in fiduciary duty, misuse of funds, or any kind of improper conduct by volunteers or employees, these suits can jeopardize the organization itself! The result? Directors and officers can be held personally liable.

CPH & Associates recommends that companies get covered through NotforProfitins.com. Coverage through NPI is backed by Philadelphia Insurance Companies, an A++ (superior) rated company by A.M. Best. Nonprofit Directors and Officers Insurance is available for, but not limited to, Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center Insurance, Area Health Education Center Insurance, and Charitable Organization Insurance. Other organizations include: Counseling Centers, Daycares, English as a Second Language Programs, Food Banks, Fundraising Foundations, Goodwill Industries, Homeless Shelters, Mental Health Associations, Respite Care Centers, Tutoring Centers, Job Training, Women’s Shelters, and Youth Associations.

Learn more about liability coverage for directors and officers – NotforProfitins.com – or call CPH toll-free at 800-875-1911.

 

Sep 16

Webinar: Take the Confusion Out of Online Security

HIPAA Security Webinar

Featuring Today’s Webinar by Simple Practice, this webinar is highly beneficial for all in the medical community concerned about software and HIPAA Compliance.
As a company in the mental health community we’re very familiar with how intimidating the guidelines of HIPAA can seem. We operate under these guidelines like everyone else in the community so online security is extremely important to us. We think it’s important for both legal and ethical reasons.
Unfortunately, we see a lot of misunderstanding from therapists around online security. That concerns us and we want to help out. Frequently we see therapists looking for a one-stop solution for total HIPAA compliance. We’re asked, “Will I be HIPAA compliant if I purchase your software?” The answer is, “it depends.”
Online security starts with the software where you store your sensitive information, but it has to continue through every point of access to that information. So online security is important to consider for every computer, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet that you uses to access sensitive information.
We know this may seem intimidating, but don’t let it scare you. At SimplePractice we like to think of online security as an ongoing process… a series of steps that you continue to take. When you break it down into steps, it’s much more manageable.
That’s why we’re excited to help our friend, security expert, and licensed therapist Clinton Campbell spread the word about some simple steps you can take today for greater online security. Clinton has a great way of communicating and breaking down these big concepts into actionable steps.
Register now for Clinton’s webinar Protect Your Practice: Take the confusion out of online security.
Time: September 16th at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern)
Plus: Join the webinar to receive a free online risk assessment worksheet

 

Sep 11

Better Breakfast, Better Brain?

breakfastThere are hundreds (we counted, hundreds!) of phrases connecting food and mental health. You are what you eat, as well as various breakfast cereal slogans and statements about the importance of breakfast, and the pre-eminent threat of “every day you don’t eat breakfast is one day off your life!” have been driving Americans to consume breakfast for the past half-century.

Despite all this peer pressure, only 44% of Americans eat breakfast daily! The USDA counts some incredible statistics about breakfast and daily living. September is better breakfast month, so we’re going to take some time to dive into this odd national month and discover why!

 

Breakfast Statistics Data
Americans who eat breakfast every day 44 %
Breakfast skippers who are obese 22 %
Americans who believe breakfast is the most important meal 93 %
Breakfast meals that include eggs 12 %
Children who eat sweetened cereal for 1 or more breakfasts a week 73 %
Parents who eat breakfast with their children 79 %
School children who eat breakfast regularly 80 %
of those, Percent who ate breakfast at home 59 %
of those, Percent who ate breakfast at school 31 %
of those, Percent who ate food from a local store 18 %
Percent of fast food sales that are breakfast meals 21 %

 

Despite the obvious correlations of parenting with likelihood of eating breakfast, there are many benefits to getting in that first meal of the day. One of the most overlooked in modern thought is the relationship between mental health, stress, and breakfast. In the last decade, the National Institute of Health has made several studies on the correlation between stress and breakfast – specifically to the amount of cortisol, or stress hormone, that is released in the human body when a morning meal has been consumed.

Not only did the NIH discover that people are less stressed when they consume breakfast, but also affected likelihood of smoking, alcohol consumption, and likelihood of having a healthier diet.

It’s been clearly established that just eating breakfast is a must-do for any well-functioning adult, but what about the “better” part? Simply put, sugary cereals are not the answer to your dietary needs. Pre-making a breakfast that is high in protein, vitamins and minerals is the best way to start the day. What does that mean? Ditching the carb-filled, nutrition-less cereal and bagels and replacing with a real meal.

Protein: Eggs or egg whites, chicken or steak, protein shakes.

Vitamins and Minerals: Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, flax seed, nuts.

Eating well usually means eating simply. Don’t go crazy with fad diets or extreme methods of eating. For more information on great methods of getting the right nutrition, check out our blog on the Mediterranean Diet>>

Sep 09

Your Top 3 Needs When Opening a Private Medical Practice

Private Practice

Owning your own private practice was like a dream… until it wasn’t. You made the move into private practice, and suddenly EVERYTHING demands your attention. Cost, office space, equipment, staffing, insurance, marketing – these are not just your purview but requirements for your practice to succeed! Your job is to administer healthcare, but now it includes so much more. You are running a business.

Your patients must stay healthy, and so must your practice! Legal, tax, and financial issues require immediate attention.

Your top need as a private practice owner is the need for insurance. It is absolutely critical for professionals in private practice to maintain protection for two reasons: potential physical injury that makes you unable to work, or if you are a target of legal action.

Here are the most important types of insurance for your needs:

  1. Disability insurance: Whether you or a partner become disabled, this insurance will aid you should our ability to earn an income become impaired.

  2. Medical professional liability insurance: This protects professionals and their practices from the financial liabilities associated with practicing and providing health care.

  3. Other business-related insurance: A comprehensive package that includes workers’ compensation, employer liability, commercial property and auto insurance

Secondly, business development/practice growth is the next area that needs constant attention. Marketing, web development and well distributed business brochures can help spread the word about who you are and explain your philosophy toward health care.

If going into private practice is something you want to do, the rewards can be great! Always remember that even though there are many steps to follow, your exceptional brand of medicine will be well worth the effort.

Sep 04

Are You A Strategic Thinker? Medical Industry Edition

strategic thinking month

September is International Strategic Thinking month. No, this holiday was not made solely for 007 admirers or chess enthusiasts – but everyone should take this month as an excuse to look a little more Bond or Bond villain (whatever your heart desires).

As medical professionals, you may not understand how this applies to you. However, even as a doctor, nurse, occupational therapist, or even medical student, you may lose your strategic insights – by falling prey to routine.

Strategic thinking is defined as a method of thinking that is geared towards success of a business, game or operation. Are you applying yourself to your future goals and successes? Now is a good time to evaluate yourself and your office for its efficiency, and ability to accomplish the goals placed on your team.

Steps to strategic thinking:

  1. Look to the future! Where do you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years? Are you on the right track to achieve those goals?
  2. Evaluate your current habits. Determine if your habits are going to lead to your success or decline. Which ones work? Which ones do not? If your goals include expanding your practice, are you taking the proper steps to do so?
  3. Create a plan. Once you’ve identified your problem areas, you can be proactive about destroying the negatives and improving the positives. Formulate clear, small, achievable goals in a path to lead to your success.

The two big success threats in the medical field are HIPAA compliance and inability to acquire the proper professional liability insurance policy coverage. Professional liability insurance is the best way to be protected from litigation, should any malpractice accusations occur.

Key Benefits of Professional Liability Insurance:

  1. Ease of access is a major bonus. It’s easy to upgrade, get a quick quote, and sign up for insurance so that you are covered immediately.

  2. Coverage is portable, so it will follow you if you change offices or as you work for different agencies.

  3. The Avoiding Liability Helpline, available to CPH & Associates policyholders is an invaluable resource and exists to offer legal guidance and resources to help prevent potential lawsuits.

Newly licensed discounts, risk management discounts, and even internet discounts make coverage affordable and competitive. Occurrence form liability coverage, supplemental liability, and unlimited defense coverage, all provide peace of mind that your bases are covered. How’s that for strategic thinking?

Sep 02

Are You Adding Coaching or Counseling to Your Practice? Don’t Miss These 6 Essential Steps!

Grow your PracticeProfessional expertise can only improve the value of your practice! Coaching and counseling are some of the top ways to do that. Planning on taking that plunge in the upcoming years? Don’t forget to follow these important steps when adding a coach or counselor to your practice!

  1. Licensing: Before adding a therapist/coach to your practice, check your future employee’s credentials. Has he been licensed by the proper board? Any past issues or lapses? Psychologists need to be licensed by the state’s licensing board.
  2. Goals: How do you see a counselor/coach benefiting your workplace? Coaching and therapy are ways to help patients achieve life goals. This can improve the reputation of your practice in the community if it matches with your current/future philosophy.
  3. Hours/availability: Is there room for your therapist/counselor to work in-house? When will s/he work?
  4. Marketing: Your practice is adding another important component! Let everyone know – use the website, circulate the information via word of mouth, keep in-office brochures and social media sites to let everyone in your area know that you are adding another component
  5. Successful Integration of Coach/Counselor: Get patient feedback to help discover whether your patients are receiving the desired level of wellness care from the new member of your practice.
  6. Liability Coverage: When adding on another professional you will also need to add them to your liability policy. Check into a group policy at the time you decide to grow.

Your practice is known by your professionalism and ethical success. Any therapy or counseling segment added on to your practice must meet your standards or you could wind up losing patients!

No matter what you call it – therapy, counseling or coaching – your goal is to improve the lives of your patients. Research all the aspects of adding this new, exciting component to your practice and patients.

Aug 28

CPH Proud to Support NAMI in Our Home of Chicago This September!

Grant ParkCPH is an official sponsor the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) upcoming NAMIWalk in Chicago! This will be the 9th annual walk in Chicago by NAMI, in which many gather to bring awareness, raise research funding, and reduce stigma for mental illness! We are proud to help make a difference in the struggles against mental illness!

Participants will join together on the scenic lakefront of Grant Park to begin the 5k.

It’s FREE – open to everyone! There will be live music, refreshments, giveaways, bouncy castles, and even face painters for the kids. Teams of walkers can work together to show pride and help the cause by designing T-shirts and outfits to wear for the walk.

From NAMI: Participants should REGISTER as a Team Captain, Team Member, or Individual Walker. Information can be shared electronically or printed and distributed. Walkers can request donations on behalf of their participation using their own walker Web page, and all walkers raising $100 or more receive a free T-shirt on the day of the walk!

NAMI is the largest support organization for mental illness. Mental illnesses are treatable – and they can affect:

  • Any age
  • Any race
  • Any religion
  • Any income level
  • They are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing.

Most people diagnosed with a mental illness can experience relief through a treatment plan tailored to their individual needs. Over a quarter of adults, or 61.5 million Americans, experiences mental illness in a given year! 13.6 million of those adults experience ongoing, long-term, untreated mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder. NAMI has made it their goal to change these numbers.

Learn more about causes of mental illness, mental health care, treatment and recovery at NAMI.org

Interested in other mental health news? Check out more from our blog, such as how the affordable care act has changed the mental illness field>>

Aug 26

Nurses, Are You Aware of Your Medical Malpractice Risks?

Nurse Medical LiabilityMedical malpractice liability for nurses may be more common than you think. Consider this scenario: Mr. Jameson, a contractor, suffered a heart attack. On June 15, 2010, he was admitted to XYZ Medical Center.  After his coronary bypass surgery, he was transferred to the Critical Care Unit.

His nurse, Lisa Johnson, was on duty with Mr. Jameson as her patient beginning at 7:00 p.m. after his surgery. Mr. Jameson was in a chemically induced coma, and very ill during Nurse Johnson’s’ shift.

He required constant monitoring (blood pressure, blood sugar, and IVs). At the beginning of the shift, Nurse Johnson monitored his IVs, including the IV for Propofol. This IV was inserted into the vein on the front of the right hand. There was no documentation of this assessment, or any other assessment, until 4:30 a.m., when the IV infiltration was added to Mr. Jameson’s medical record.

Mr. Jameson recovered, to be discharged on June 19th. However, he had suffered damage to his right hand from the infiltration. He consulted with a plastic surgeon and the condition of his hand worsened. He had plastic surgery on June 21st at the same hospital. After the surgery, Mr. Jameson’s condition continued to deteriorate. He received no order for physical therapy on the hand.

In March of 2013, Mr. Jameson filed a lawsuit against the hospital. He alleged that the hospital was negligent in care and treatment, leading directly to the infiltration of the IV containing Propofol. This, he claimed, resulted in “severe and permanent” damage to his right hand, right arm, and body.

In this case, Mr. Jameson is in full legal right to name Nurse Johnson as a defendant in the suit.

1. There is no limit to the number of individuals or entities that can be named in a lawsuit.

2. Those who are named as defendants must be “necessary parties” to the suit, and Nurse Johnson qualifies.

3. Applicable standard of care:

a. Interventions are delivered in a manner that minimizes complications and life-threatening situations.

b. Evaluation occurs within an appropriate time frame after interventions are initiated.

If the plaintiff can prove that Nurse Johnson failed to uphold these or other standards of care, she may be held liable. Professional Liability Insurance for Nurses can help protect nurses from such a situation. Claims of carelessness or negligence can be mediated with professional medical malpractice insurance. This is the best way to guarantee that you have the defense needed to go to trial.

When we think of medical malpractice, we tend to focus our attention on doctors, but nurses can be held just as liable in these cases. Nurses need professional liability insurance to stay protected.

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