Apr 17

5 Facts About Brain Health… And Brain Breakthroughs That Might Surprise You!

Brain Awareness Week, Mental Health, Allied Health, Professional Liability InsuranceIt’s National Brain Awareness week! And it’s hard to be aware without maintaining your brain – so it’s a good time to give a little attention to the organ that most closely guarantees our mental health.

Perceptions on brain knowledge, mental health and neuroscience have all changed drastically in just the last 10 years – and we still don’t know very much about the brain! Since popular belief views the brain as central to mental illness and/or disorders, it’s very important to focus on neuroscience. Not just the technical details, but the mental health side as well.

For National Brain Awareness Week, we’re providing you with tools to keep the brain healthy! Remember: good habits are key.

 

  1. FEED your brain. Literally! The brain loves when you eat B-12s, antioxidants, and Omega 3s. Blackberries, blueberries, tomatoes, bananas, fish, flax seed… The list goes on. Check out this list from BBC
  2. WORK your brain. Physical activity shows increased brain function – especially after yoga exercise! The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign compared the brain after yoga versus after aerobic exercise and found significant increases in brain function.
  3. REST your brain. Take a nap. 20-30 minutes can help brain function when you’re tired or stressed.
  4. Have a laugh! Cortisol and epinephrine are brain killers – and the number one chemicals produced during stress. The more you laugh, and the better humor you have, the more anti-bodies and endorphins you produce. These naturally prevent your body from feeling pain!
  5. SHARE your brain! Participating with others and socializing is proven to be good for overall mental health. Stay connected!

To wrap up the celebration of brains and mental health, here are some of the most recent neuroscience breakthroughs, from National Journal:

  • A new technology called CLARITY was developed by Stanford in 2013. CLARITY shows scientists the fully intact brain, in all its complexities, in full 3D. This eliminates the need to cut up a brain to get a look at it!
  • In studying mice, scientists discovered that the brain “cleans” itself more efficiently during sleep. How? Channels between neurons expand to allow more cerebrospinal fluid to flow.
  • Researchers succeeded in growing brain “organoids” in vitro, great for studying disease!

Happy Brain Awareness Week! Stay healthy and stay protected in your mental health or allied health practice!

Apr 15

The Do’s and Don’ts of Patient Outreach

HIPAA and Healthcare, Marketing Your Practice Legally, Legality RisksAs medical practices become more and more concerned with profit margins, and new healthcare plans surge forward, it’s essential for mental health practices to take precautions in how they present their practice.

According to HIPAA, marketing is, “A communication about a product or service that encourages recipients of the communication to purchase or use the product or service.”

This means above all, we must be careful with how we present the information we have. Our patients have to be protected – not all advertising can come from word of mouth, but protecting your practice means understanding how you can present how your treatment has changed your patients’ lives. Here are some good guidelines for making your practice look credible without risking violating HIPAA:

  1. Honesty is still the best policy: Avoid the urge to exaggerate. HIPAA does not make exceptions – so before you make a claim, make sure it’s factual and you have the evidence to back it up.
  2. Testimonial protection: Using a patient’s testimonial can be a great way to remind prospective patients how great your practice is! REMEMBER: the testimonial MUST be approved by the patient. You cannot just use a standard release form, either – HIPAA regulations and release forms are a must for staying safe when maneuvering your practice’s advertise-ability. As per all health practices: DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT! Same goes for using patient photos – you must get and keep photo releases. This is one of the biggest legal dangers when advertising your practice!
  3. Mailing lists – need to can spam? Direct marketing is ok, but no matter what, do not use lists from personal records! There are only 2 exceptions to this rule, so pay attention to these:
    1. A health care practice may reach out to its patient list if it is announcing the arrival of a new specialty (such as pediatric services) or acquiring new equipment (such as an MRI machine).
    2. A health plan can send direct mailing to subscribers when they are reaching Medicare eligible age, only to offer information on the Medicare supplemental plan and supply an application form.
  4. When is mailing ok? The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires a consent using protected health information for marketing or advertising offers. There are two exceptions here as well: When offering promotional gift of minor value. When it occurs in a face-to-face encounter between the covered entity and the individual;

Still confused? If you have questions, just ask! We keep a live staff (no robots) available via phone at: 312-987-9823 or 800-875-1911. You can discover more on these laws in the HIPAA Marketing section on HHS.gov.

Apr 10

Top Liability Risks for Psychiatrists

Liability for Mental Health ProfessionalsSound, heavily documented care is no doubt one of the top methods of protection when facing claims and working with patients. As a psychiatrist, there are two major forms of protection available:

  1. Heavily document each case to justify sound clinical treatment
  2.  Stay protected with the proper professional liability protection plan

Identifying the best defenses is a good strategy to prevent malpractice, but what are the dangers and risks you are protecting against? Mental health patients come with a variety of often overlapping diagnoses, and not all risks are easy to assess. In this post, we’ll outline the top risks and claims prevention methods so that you can keep your practice safe as well as your patients.

#1 Liability Risk for Psychologists: Psychopharmacology

The largest verdicts/settlements for psychiatrists typically involve damage and lifelong care to the patient. A top cause for this is lithium toxicity (causing renal failure). For patients with bipolar disorder, swallowing too much of diagnosed lithium over the long term can cause dehydration and chronic toxicity. Over a short period, an overdose can cause acute toxicity resulting in coma, muscle twitches, seizures or kidney failure.

The best defense? Extreme chronicling of paperwork and meetings before diagnosis or prescription.

#2 Liability Risk for Psychologists: HIPAA & Information Management

Breaches of private information, especially electronic records and tele-psychiatry, are extremely grey areas of the medical arena! Failure to protect or store documents properly is a huge liability for your practice. Invest in a HIPAA compliant service or method and do not risk this major shutdown on your practice.

 

Stay protected! Professional Liability Risks are not all obvious: for mental health professionals, there are many steps you can take to prevent an unnecessary claim – and we’re happy to advise you.

Apr 08

Wearable Technology – Not Just for Spies Anymore!

Glass for Medicine, Wearable Technology, Liability in Mental Health Technology,

We all rely on technology in our workplaces. Theoretically, the advent of technology will lead to us eventually not having to work at all! For the moment, while we’re still reliant, it’s important to be on the lookout for the next big trend, the failing trends, and what benefits and risks they may pose to your allied health or mental health care practice. What will replace the technology you currently use? And how can technologies affect your practices’ ability to get ahead? How will they affect your liability and claims risks?

Wearable intelligence

Bond and Bourne aren’t the only big fans of wearable technology. Tech companies are really pushing advances in spy watches, smartphone drones, and special gadgets: the biggest for 2014 appears to be the Glass technology and its integration with public data. This particular innovation could make these “spy advancements” incredibly useful in the lifesaving fields. But is it the next “big thing”?

Glasses for Lifesaving: Public Safety and Law Enforcement

The military has been using glass technology for years, but as it becomes more available, it’s an option for firefighters and police officers. In public safety, the Glass could be used for evaluating building hazards, blueprints, and contact information for residents in homes where emergencies or accidents occur. It’s exactly how you remember from all your favorite spy movies – one look at the item, building, person and the device transmits all relevant information to the wearer.

 

The NYPD experiments with use of these glasses in the field. For the NYPD, the main goal of the Glass application to law enforcement involves the ability to be hands free – not having to stop what they’re doing in order to reach for a smartphone, emergency radio, tablet or computer. Of course, the public information states that they are not yet being deployed in field operations, but the potential huge.

Glasses for Professional Medicine, Health and Mental Health Awareness

Glass technology may have a huge impact on physicians and healthcare practitioners. It has great potential to recognize symptoms and visual signs of patient illness – helping a physician assess a patient’s history, access medical records and stream their signs, such as recognizing heart rate increases or pupil dilations that may be indicative of extreme spikes in system and mental stresses.

The hands-free capabilities would simplify surgery and any kind of invasive procedures. Ultimately, use of glass technology would make recording procedures and archiving overall records much more thorough – helping avoid malpractice suits over poorly kept records or diagnosed evidence.

Google has forbidden their current Glassware from using facial recognition technologies – their first choice of modification appears to focus on style, but no doubt laws will alleviate these needs in some areas where consent can be provided. HIPPAA ramifications would predictably include improved collection and storage of data, but that’s to be expected in the upcoming years.

Future of Glass in Neurological Applications

Some investors speculate that neuro-feedback could be monitored by Glass. Monitoring brain activity of the patient throughout the day could provide intelligence to mental health professionals for treating depression and other conditions. Mood-sensing algorithms could target content more closely, and since the pupil response will be a top priority for analysis by Glass, detecting stress levels can stop problems at the source: prompting individuals to take breaks or meditate to relax.

Health monitoring of any personnel is one of the biggest applications currently used – naturally if both the patient and physician are wearing Glass technology, communicating the experience of the patient directly to the professional. For more information, check out this neuro application for Glass that PND Wearables is working on, or comment some questions below!

 

Apr 01

Professional Liability in the Addictions Field

Addictions, Professional Liability, Mental Health and Addictions, Treatment and Drug Abuse, Malpractice in Addictions TreatmentAddiction is one of the most misunderstood areas of mental health. Alcoholism and drug abuse counselors are a brave group who battle the damaging grip of narcotics, prescriptions and illegal substances. Over 10% of people over the age of 12 in the US today suffer from addiction, and addiction IS an illness. Since it is both difficult to treat and understand, it is easy for the victims of drug abuse to claim negligence, misrepresentation or inaccurate advice of their treatment counselor.

The Hazards of Addiction Treatment in the Mental Health Care Field

Emotional Hardship

Professional Liability Coverage protects addiction treatment counselors from the unpredictable. Most treatments require long term, and it’s important when a patient claims emotional hardship from the physician for falling back into the powerful cycle of chemical dependence.

Patient Pain Pills

Recently, Bureponephrine has been discovered as a threat to mental health treatment. Medication or drug? This mild opiate has often been prescribed to recovering addicts to limit the painful withdrawal process. Unfortunately, this drug itself has been subject to abuse by patients, and the prescribing physician is too-often to blame.

Patient Brokering

Some groups in the substance abuse and mental health field still operate on a referral payment program. In Florida and many other states, offering referral incentives is illegal and can get your practice in a lot of trouble!

These are just a few of the hazards to watch out for as a professional in the addictions and drug abuse treatment field. Stay safe! The influx of patients this month should be met with awareness of both the options and hazards. Malpractice is always a threat, especially in fields where the treatment is highly individualized – and April is Alcohol Awareness Month.

Mar 27

Protecting Your Tail: Your Time Machine for Claims and Coverage

Past Claims Coverage, Prior Claim Coverage, Switching Carrier Mid ClaimEver wish you could turn back time when it comes to making a claim or letting coverage lapse? You may have grown up wishing for your very own sporty, hulking time machine (read: DeLorean) but, in this case, there’s no need for one. In this edition of our blog, we want to enlighten you as to our most specialized and lesser known coverage options – most interestingly, the one that turns back time.

1. Prior Acts Coverage: Maybe you forgot your last policy had lapsed. Guess what, you made a claim and haven’t updated it in the last month or so… Well, we will cover your past claim! Our endorsement will protect you for future claims – even those related to events occurring in the past! We’ll cover you to the retroactive date of your expiring claims policy.

To qualify you must: have a current claims made policy expiring no later than 75 days after the date your application was submitted, and provide some information regarding your expiring policy. This includes the claims made policy number, the retroactive date, and the name of your claims made carrier.

2.  Property Coverage: Damage to your property and others that are in your care goes up to theft expenses, emergency real estate, temporary meeting space reimbursements, workplace violence counseling, and image restoration. You won’t find a more comprehensive and accessible plan on the market.

3. Speaking of accessibility, our Document Search System is convenient and online – simplifying your record keeping process. It’s so much easier to keep track of your Liability policy online this way.

Professional liability insurance is a long, scary name that comes with the threat of a mountain of fine print. Not at CPH. We keep an old-school approach with new business protection: you can report your claims online as well – but it’s just as easy to call in and speak to someone. That’s right. A live human being. So do not hesitate to try our line and ask questions: we’re here via email and phone – 312-987-9823. You don’t need Marty McFly for this one.

Mar 25

Wellness in the Workplace: Promoting a Healthy Practice!

CPH Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, Fitness In The WorkplaceDo you keep up with trends? Are you pop culture savvy? Then answer this trend question: What’s the biggest change we’ve seen in the workplace since the advent of the computer?

DING DING! You got it! It’s fitness in the workplace!

If the title and our constant jabber about Nutrition Month were not already dead giveaways, anyone who’s been working in any type of medical or mental health practice has noticed two things:

  1. How much more sedentary computers have made us, and
  2. How much more important keeping healthy has become for the mind, body, and again, the MIND.

How do you maintain the mind? While there are many causes for mental health issues, one simple way to help keep the chemicals in the brain moderated is to exercise. With over 146.7 million people working nationally, and the majority of those jobs having become sedentary due to reliance on computers and desk work, stress, obesity and high blood pressure have skyrocketed. Still, only 25% of the employees who have high blood pressure are actually diagnosed! You know what that means? If 4 of your employees are diagnosed with high blood pressure, 16 may actually be suffering from it!

So as an employer, what can you do about your employees’ stress levels, weight challenges, and consequently, fitness needs?

It may sound costly, but it’s a great benefit to your practice to provide an area to work out or create a fitness incentive program. Some ideas include:

  1. Pairing with Weight Watchers for a cheap and tax-efficient fitness education plan
  2. Promote healthy eating with healthy-only vending machines
  3. An on-site fitness center – this would require liability protection
  4. Create a walking club and incentivize membership to employees
  5. Offer a discount for a local fitness center to avoid liability issues
  6. Bring in a personal trainer or fitness professional to work with your employees

Mental health is a top priority for both patients and employees. Most adults working in the US are riddled with high blood pressure as a result of stress and poor eating – two things easily solved by staying healthy and getting good exercise. In the medical field, we know how imperative it is to stay active, yet we rarely find the time to do it ourselves! There’s no doubt that reducing stress in the workplace will lead to a more stringent and happier environment with proper reporting, and therefore limit human error. And what does human error lead to? Malpractice, be it by poor record keeping, oversight, or misdiagnosis. We’re only human. Let’s stay healthy! Set standards this month to keep you on track all year: it IS Nutrition Month after all!

Mar 20

Can Nutrition Keep Your Brain Healthy? Plus 5 Tips for Eating Smart On-the-Go!

brain health, staying healthy, national nutrition month, professional liability insurance, staying ahead, nutritionMarch is National Nutrition Month! We know it’s hard to keep healthy when you’re working, and even more important to develop a consistent plan for your food habits!

Mental health problems that correlate highly with diet include: depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease. According to the NIH, a large percentage of those who report some mental health problems do not eat fresh vegetables and fruits daily.

Historically speaking, in the last century, our eating styles and nutritional intakes have changed drastically. Our processed food intake has increased dramatically, while fresh, nutritious local produce is much lower in our diets. This could explain some of the overall effects our diets could have on our mental health as well as overall physical changes. Supplements have improved peoples moods in a small number of studies, and many nutritional tests are becoming a greater interest in tests and clinical studies. Protect your clients and employees on all fronts and stay aware of how nutrition affects everyone’s mental and physical health!

Our last entry focused on good ways to regulate your diet – these 5 tips are a quick way to supplement for the times when planning is not available.

1. Watch your portions! It’s important to keep track of your calorie intake and/or hunger levels. Most restaurants serve more food per plate than necessary for the average meal.

2. Do you like to eat smoothies or eggs for breakfast? Add some vegetables! Carrots, sweet potatoes or kale are some great options.

3. Replace unhealthy fats like mayo with avocado, nuts and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

4. Think you’re hungry, but it’s not time for a meal? You may actually be thirsty. Set your timer after each meal to see how many hours have passed. If it’s less than 120 minutes, you may just need some tea or water to literally quench your hunger.

5. Make fitness a part of your routine – so that you don’t have to look at the scale. 1 lb. of muscle is leaner than 3 lbs. of fat! And it helps burn calories constantly. Win-win!

These suggestions are good for everyday health, however it’s becoming more and more apparent that diet and mental health are highly correlated. Don’t skimp where it counts – these are more than just good habits, but preventative measures to help you, your family, employees and colleagues stay healthy all year round!

 

Mar 18

Healthy Habits for National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month, Staying Healthy, Keeping Your Employees Safe, Professional Liability Insurance, Health and Wellness, Mental Health, Allied MedicalMarch is National Nutrition Month – we’ve all head the importance of healthful eating and keeping up with physical activity. Nutrition is about more than diet: it’s about controlling your weight, maintaining chemical balance, and preventing disease. These are just a few of the long-term benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Working long hours in an office is not the ideal way to stay healthy – let this month’s tips start habits to keep in healthy the whole work year.

Plan your diet

Planning what you eat means preparing food for the right times. Eating on time is almost as important as eating well. Diets for health focus on eating smaller amounts, more frequently.

When you plan your menu and coordinate your shopping, you waste less food and time, and have a less stressful evening that’s planned out!

Always Stock Healthy Foods

You’ve had it repeated all your life: fruits and vegetables are important to eat and stay healthy! One way some dietitians do it is by roasting and refrigerating the vegetables in advance. Keeping prepped raw vegetables for salads and making it simple to combine them quickly.

Eat Vegetables Before They Go Bad

Keep the vegetables cold and handy – great for snacks and important to consumer. Mix them into any dish, but make sure they are eaten before they turn brown. Brown vegetables have less nutrients, and defeat the purpose of that healthy snack. 

Forget the Cereal: Eat a Big Breakfast

A large breakfast is a good preventative measure against unhealthy habits, crashing from hunger, and also having an efficient work day. Since the day will be relatively sedentary at the office, it’s important to snack lightly while at work, and keep lunch and dinner on the smaller end. That way, when you sleep, many calories don’t go straight to your body without getting burnt off.

If you can’t take the time in the morning for a decent breakfast, make that lunch your big healthy meal of the day. The purpose? Eliminate evening snacking and eat a smaller dinner. The more calories earlier in the day and the healthier you’ll feel and be!

Staying safe isn’t just about being ready for unpredictable professional liabilities. Keep your health and wellness, and share these tips around the office for a healthier March, leading to a healthier 2014!

 

Mar 13

Adding on to Your Policy – When to Add an Additional Insured & How to Do It!

Additional Insured, Adding to your Policy, Mental Health, Allied Health, Professionals, Coverage, Professional Liability Coverage, Landlord Coverage, Employee CoverageThere are two types of add-ons you can make to tailor your policy to your needs. It’s important to keep your professional liability policy updated, otherwise your practice, staff and even your landlord may not be protected! In this segment of CPH Benefits Blog, we will provide you with your options for add-ons, when they need to be added, and let you know how to make those changes.

Types of Add-ons:

  1. Adding a landlord as your additional insured,
  2. Non-landlord, such as a supervisor, employer, partner agency or contracting agency.

When should you add a landlord to your policy?

Your landlord may request to be added to your policy, in order to be covered under your current plan. This will protect the landlord if he is named in a lawsuit!

If you think your landlord may be at risk if your practice is pending legal problems, it might be a good time to add your landlord to your policy. It does not cost anything additional to name your landlord as an additional insured to your policy.

When should you add a non-landlord to your policy?

When you add personnel to your practice, you may need to include a new supervisor, employer, or contracting agency as an additional insured. This will guarantee they are protected in the event of any problems at the practice.

How can you add your landlord to your policy?

This is an easy online change to make, and the best part? There are no additional charges for this endorsement. Just click the link to add your landlord and make sure s/he is covered under your current policy.

How can you add a supervisor, employer, or agency you are contracting with?

Adding a Non-Landlord as an additional insured is simple! Just update your information online, and you can expect your insurance coverage to be updated within 5-7 days when everything gets approved.

Making these changes is a simple fix, both online and offline. Just call CPH Insurance, or visit the links above to make these changes today!

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