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Ethics, Professional Will and Emergency Planning in Private PracticeDenial is a powerful defense mechanism and despite all of our knowledge and training, many (most?) mental health clinicians stick their heads in the sand about the potential for disaster to strike them. Despite the fact that our ethics codes call for it and HIPAA/HITECH requires it in the case of electronic data, most mental health clinicians I speak with do not have an emergency transition plan in place.

In my private practice consulting work, I'm often asked by mental health professionals which type of computer they should get. It wasn't that long ago that the choices were simple. It was either a desktop or a laptop and, unless you were doing a lot of travelling, desktops had major advantages.  Now, however, computer power has increased and can be packed in a tiny device, Internet connectivity can be found almost anywhere, and cloud software and storage mean you can access important data on the go. Add to this the greatly increased number of manufacturers and form factors to consider and the decision has become fairly complex.

When making a final decision, nothing beats an affordable one on one consultation that takes the unique needs of your business into account. That said, there are some questions you can ask yourself to help make the decision:

It appears that Yodle is heavily targeting mental health practitioners for new business. In addition to receiving the cold calls myself, I've received multiple reports from others who have received them as well.  They typically start their pitch with, “I'm so and so from Yodle Health and we're wanting to find out if you're accepting new clients...” If you've not heard of Yodle before, this may provide the mistaken impression that they are another provider or program looking to refer clients to you.  Yodle actually is an online marketing service aimed at increasing the local Internet presence of a business.  In other words, their aim is to make your business come up more often in search engine searches, thus sending more potential clients your way.

This is the first article in my continuing series on Cloud-Based Practice Management Systems

In my coming blog entries, I will be discussing and evaluating cloud-based practice management systems.  These are online software solutions that allow you to manage various facets of your practice electronically, typically through a web page. You're probably already aware that a Practice Management Solution may handle scheduling, notes, billing, client communications, or all of the above.  But how does this all work in the Cloud?

What is the Cloud
Cloud computing is the delivery of software or storage over the Internet to a group of end users.  Facebook, Dropbox and QuickBooks Online are well-known cloud solutions.  These solutions exist on a server and are accessible via any device that can connect to the Internet.  A more specific term for Practice Management Solutions that are delivered via the cloud is Software as a Solution (SaaS).

Imagine going to your favorite restaurant or store one day and seeing a new two to three percent surcharge on your bill?  When you ask, they inform you of a new policy that calls for passing credit card merchant fees on to the customer.  How would you feel?

Up until January of 2013, this was an unlikely hypothetical situation.  These “swipe fees” vary based on the type of card and other factors, but typically range from one to three percent of the bill.  They are intended to cover the credit card companies' costs of doing business. Credit Cards had long included a clause in their contracts, prohibiting vendors from passing these fees on to consumers.

This is the sixth article in my series on Cloud Based Practice Management Systems.  While this series is focused on Cloud-Based solutions, most of this information applies to traditional software solutions as well.

Happy New Year!

We're barely into the New Year and there are a lot of exciting things happening here at Tame Your Practice.  A slightly condensed, two-part version of my series on evaluating Cloud Based Practice Management Systems is being published in the February and March print editions of Counseling Today, the American Counseling Associations (ACA) professional magazine for Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs).  Following that, I will be contributing a quarterly column.

All Call Technologies - Virtual Receptionistwww.allcalltechnologies.com/psych

Have you ever wished there was always someone available to answer your calls?  Interested in having voice mails delivered directly to your email inbox?  Using your cell phone for business and wish you knew which calls were personal and which were business?  What if you could have all of this for much less than the cost of a traditional phone line/PBX?

These features and more are available in a HIPAA compliant Virtual Phone System with All Call Technologies.

 

With all the current talk of the fiscal cliff, many wonder how it effects them. For mental health professionals who accept insurance reimbursement, there is one particular item that applies to them directly and could have devastating consequences. If left to stand this year, it would result in a 27% decrease in reimbursement rates from Medicare as well as any insurance company that bases their rates on Medicare. Toss into the mix that a) Most insurers have been moving toward basing their rates on Medicare over the past few years and b) Insurance companies are increasingly forcing previously paneled providers into contracts based on Medicare rates (the new CPT codes for 2013 are providing them a perfect opportunity to do just that). Imagine going into work in January only to find that your revenue had been slashed by close to 30%.

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