Did You Know?


What manifests itself as a customer delinquency problem may actually be a postal efficiency issue. Many organizations never trace their customer service costs to postal inefficiencies and unknowingly risk eroding customer satisfaction levels.


Why Use Us :


The Benefits:

• No warehousing of paper, envelopes, or customized forms
• No purchase of equipment and supplies, which sit idle much of the time
• No reruns, reprints or spoiled printing
• Improved cash flow
• Turn-around time within one business day
• Postal net bar-coding speeds delivery and remittance
• Return envelope with addressed remittance slip encourages quick payment
• Address reporting services
• Postal Enhancements including CASS certified address correction, DPV and reporting
• NCOA or National Change of Address (where applicable) plus updated address reporting
• Accurate, high quality, professional looking statements/invoices
• No set-up fee
• Integration of personalized messages on customer mailings. Messages can be tailored for any group of aging
• Compatible with any software application
• Better use of labor resources
• Consolidated billing for multiple accounts or services on one invoice / statement
• Data transfer - 24x7x365

 


Smart Tips:



 

FAQ's

 

When you Have More Questions Than Answers ...


Businesses who don't keep up or embrace technological changes will no doubt, begin having a tough time staying ahead in office efficiencies. At The PLD Group, we always try to keep up with the market. We don't always know where it will go, but wherever that is, we want to be on top!


The most challenging aspect of implementing a new program or service is educating customers and soon to be customers the benefits and cost savings they will realize by using The PLD Group as well as identifying the hidden cost they are paying currently.

 

 

The Questions:


Some of the most frequently asked questions are:

 

Q: We print and mail the statements ourselves. We purchase the cheapest materials and use staff in-between other duties to process. How can The PLD Group improve this process?

 

Q: We already outsource our patient statements. How can The PLD Group save us money?

 

Q: How does the print and mail program work?

 

Q: How difficult is it to have my print file formatted and an account set-up?

 

Q: What file formats do you accept?

 

Q: How many other companies are outsourcing the printing and mailing of their billing statements and invoices?

 

Q: Can I send inserts with my statements?

 

Q: Can I customize a message to certain customers?

 

Q: How do I know when they are mailed?

 

Q: What if I have questions in the future?

 

Q: What does the HIPAA Privacy Rule do?

 

Q: Why is the HIPAA Privacy Rule needed?

 

Q: Can health care providers engage in confidential conversations with other providers or with patients, even if there is a possibility that they could be overheard?

 

Q: How are covered entities expected to determine what is the minimum necessary information that can be used, disclosed, or requested for a particular purpose?

 

Q: Is a covered entity required to apply the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s minimum necessary standard to a disclosure of protected health information it makes to another covered entity?

 

Q: Are business associates required to restrict their uses and disclosures to the minimum necessary? May a covered entity reasonably rely on a request from a
covered entity’s business associate as the minimum necessary?

 

Q: Has the Secretary exceeded the HIPAA statutory authority by requiring “satisfactory assurances” for disclosures to business associates?

 

Q: Has the Secretary exceeded the HIPAA statutory authority by requiring “business associates” to comply with the Privacy Rule, even if that requirement is through a contract?

 

Q: What are a covered entity’s obligations under the HIPAA Privacy Rule with respect to protected health information held by a business associate during the
contract transition period?

 

Q: Would a business associate contract in electronic form, with an electronic signature, satisfy the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s business associate contract requirements?

 

Q: Do you have more questions about our online printing services before you outsource your printing and mailing operations?

 

 

 

The Answers:

 

Statements
Q: We print and mail the statements ourselves. We purchase the cheapest materials and use staff in-between other duties to process. How can The PLD Group improve this process?


A: By allowing The PLD Group to perform a comprehensive no-obligation cost analysis! Once the results are in, we can sit down and look at the actual cost (both soft & hard cost) you are actually paying for doing this process 'in house'. Many of our customers were amazed at the cost...and the cost savings we bring to the table.

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Q: We already outsource our patient statements. How can The PLD Group save us money?


A: Many of our current customers realized the benefits of outsourcing and selected another vendor prior to hearing about The PLD Group. We welcome you to compare our services and products to your current vendor. In most cases, you will find we continue with the sale and the service after the sale has been made. By continuing to streamline your applications and learning more about your particular office procedures we often offer more than you would receive with another organization.   Our regular scheduled business review highlights these areas as well as lays the foundation for future improvements. It is no wonder we have "best in class" service!

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Print & Mail Services
Q: How does the print and mail program work?

 

A: A Project Manager will walk you through the steps to generate a sample print file. A copy of your current statement will also be used. Your statement will be designed to reduce customer service calls as well as to expedite payment. Our Project Manager will also show you how to send your test file electronically. Once mapped by our program department, a proof will be offered for your approval. After approval is given, you are only a click away from going ‘live’. We go above and beyond standard letter shop printing and mailing services by integrating the latest technology.

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Q: How difficult is it to have my print file formatted and an account set-up?

 

A: It is actually quite simple. We receive a sample print file from you with the contents of your file and how the information is formatted. We then take the file contents and 'map' it to fit with a format of your choice. Once the information has been formatted, we then present you with a PDF proof for you to review and confirm.

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Q: What file formats do you accept?

 

A: We accept nearly every type of file; including database records and printing services output files.

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Q: How many other companies are outsourcing the printing and mailing of their billing statements and invoices?

 

A: Literally thousands of organizations are already outsourcing this print-to-mail function. They include companies of all types and sizes such as retailers, hospitals, medical billing firms, software companies, municipalities, cooperatives, non-profits, telecom firms, and distributors, to name only a few. They have found the benefits of outsourcing statement printing and mailing to be important in both accelerating their cash flow and keeping the focus of their employees on core functions that add value for their customers.

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Q: Can I send inserts with my statements?

 

A: Most definitely! Simply notify us in advance. We are able to provide you with many samples that have been used successfully to cross-sell new products and services! It is another reason to outsource statement printing and invoice printing operations to The PLD Group.

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Q: Can I customize a message to certain customers?

 

A: Yes. Since we are receiving your variable data, we are able to deliver 1-to-1 messages from you to your customer.

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Q: How do I know when they are mailed?


A: You are notified via email as soon as your reports are ready. Our state of the art reports list when we received the file, when we processed the file, as well as when it was mailed. These reports are posted to your private secure page within our web site where you have 24/7 access.

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Q: What if I have questions in the future?

 

A: You have a dedicated project manager available to answer any questions you may have about the program. Also, feel free to e-mail your questions to our customer service department at thepldgroup@thepldgroup.com. We look forward to helping you save time and money!

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HIPAA
GENERAL QUESTIONS:


Q: What does the HIPAA Privacy Rule do?


A: Most health plans and health care providers that are covered by the new Rule must comply with the new requirements by April 14, 2003. The HIPAA Privacy Rule for the first time creates national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information.
• It gives patients more control over their health information.
• It sets boundaries on the use and release of health records.
• It establishes appropriate safeguards that health care providers and others must achieve to protect the privacy of health information.
• It holds violators accountable, with civil and criminal penalties that can be imposed if they violate patients’ privacy rights.
• It strikes a balance when public responsibility supports disclosure of some forms of data – for example, to protect public health.
For patients – it means being able to make informed choices when seeking care and reimbursement for care based on how personal health information may be used.
• It enables patients to find out how their information may be used and about certain disclosures of their information that have been made.
• It generally limits release of information to the minimum reasonably needed for the purpose of the disclosure.
• It generally gives patients the right to examine and obtain a copy of their own health records and request corrections.
• It empowers individuals to control certain uses and disclosures of their health information.

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Q: Why is the HIPAA Privacy Rule needed?


A: In enacting HIPAA, Congress mandated the establishment of Federal standards for the privacy of individually identifiable health information. When it comes to personal information that moves across hospitals, doctors’ offices, insurers or third party payers, and State lines, our country has relied on a patchwork of Federal and State laws. Under the patchwork of laws existing prior to the adoption of HIPAA and the Privacy Rule, personal health information could be distributed—without either notice or authorization—for reasons that had nothing to do with a patient's medical treatment or health care reimbursement. For example, unless otherwise forbidden by State or local law, without the Privacy Rule patient information held by a health plan could, without the patient’s permission, be passed on to a lender who could then deny the patient's application for a home mortgage or a credit card, or to an employer who could use it in personnel decisions. The Privacy Rule establishes a Federal floor of safeguards to protect the confidentiality of medical information. State laws, which provide stronger privacy protection, will continue to apply over and above the new Federal privacy standards.

Health care providers have a strong tradition of safeguarding private health information. However, in today’s world, the old system of paper records in locked filing cabinets is not enough. With information broadly held and transmitted electronically, the Rule provides clear standards for the protection of personal health information.

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INCIDENTAL USES AND DISCLOSURES
(45 CFR 164.502(a))


Q: Can health care providers engage in confidential conversations with other providers or with patients, even if there is a possibility that they could be overheard?


A: Yes. The HIPAA Privacy Rule is not intended to prohibit providers from talking to each other and to their patients. Provisions of this Rule requiring covered entities to implement reasonable safeguards that reflect their particular circumstances and exempting treatment disclosures from certain requirements are intended to ensure that providers’ primary consideration is the appropriate treatment of their patients. The Privacy Rule recognizes that oral communications often must occur freely and quickly in treatment settings. Thus, covered entities are free to engage in communications as required for quick, effective, and high quality health care. The Privacy Rule also recognizes that overheard communications in these settings may be unavoidable and allows for these incidental disclosures. For example, the following practices are permissible under the Privacy Rule, if reasonable precautions are taken to minimize the chance of incidental disclosures to others who may be nearby:
• Health care staff may orally coordinate services at hospital nursing stations.
• Nurses or other health care professionals may discuss a patient’s condition over the phone with the patient, a provider, or a family member.
• A health care professional may discuss lab test results with a patient or other provider in a joint treatment area.
• A physician may discuss a patients’ condition or treatment regimen in the patient’s semi-private room.
• Health care professionals may discuss a patient’s condition during training rounds in an academic or training institution.
• A pharmacist may discuss a prescription with a patient over the pharmacy counter or with a physician or a patient over the phone.


In these circumstances, reasonable precautions could include using lowered voices or talking apart from others when sharing protected health information. However, in an emergency situation, in a loud emergency room, or where a patient is hearing impaired, such precautions may not be practical. Covered entities are free to engage in communications as required for quick, effective, and high quality health care.

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MINIMUM NECESSARY
[45 CFR 164.502(b), 164.514(d)]


Q: How are covered entities expected to determine what is the minimum necessary information that can be used, disclosed, or requested for a particular purpose?


A: The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires a covered entity to make reasonable efforts to limit use, disclosure of, and requests for protected health information to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose. To allow covered entities the flexibility to address their unique circumstances, the Rule requires covered entities to make their own assessment of what protected health information is reasonably necessary for a particular purpose, given the characteristics of their business and workforce, and to implement policies and procedures accordingly. This is not an absolute standard and covered entities need not limit information uses or disclosures to those that are absolutely needed to serve the purpose. Rather, this is a reasonableness standard that calls for an approach consistent with the best practices and guidelines already used by many providers and plans already in order to limit the unnecessary sharing of medical information.

The minimum necessary standard requires covered entities to evaluate their practices and enhance protections as needed to limit unnecessary or inappropriate access to protected health information. It is intended to reflect and be consistent with, not override, professional judgment and standards.

 

Therefore, it is expected that covered entities will utilize the input of prudent professionals involved in health care activities when developing policies and procedures that appropriately limit access to personal health information without sacrificing the quality of health care.

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Q: Is a covered entity required to apply the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s minimum necessary standard to a disclosure of protected health information it makes to another covered entity?


A: Covered entities are required to apply the minimum necessary standard to their own requests for protected health information. One covered entity may reasonably rely on another covered entity’s request as the minimum necessary, and then does not need to engage in a separate minimum necessary determination. See 45 CFR 164.514(d)(3)(iii).


However, if a covered entity does not agree that the amount of information requested by another covered entity is reasonably necessary for the purpose, it is up to both covered entities to negotiate a resolution of the dispute as to the amount of information needed.


Nothing in the Privacy Rule prevents a covered entity from discussing its concerns with another covered entity making a request, and negotiating an information exchange that meets the needs of both parties. Such discussions occur today and may continue after the compliance date of the Privacy Rule.

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Q: Are business associates required to restrict their uses and disclosures to the minimum necessary? May a covered entity reasonably rely on a request from a
covered entity’s business associate as the minimum necessary?


A: A covered entity’s contract with a business associate may not authorize the business associate to use or further disclose the information in a manner that would violate the HIPAA Privacy Rule if done by the covered entity. See 45 CFR 164.504(e)(2)(i). Thus, a business associate contract must limit the business associate’s uses and disclosures of, as well as requests for, protected health information to be consistent with the covered entity’s minimum necessary policies and procedures. Given that a business associate contract must limit a business associate’s requests for protected health information on behalf of a covered entity to that which is reasonably necessary to accomplish the intended purpose, a covered entity is permitted to reasonably rely on such requests from a business associate of another covered entity as the minimum necessary.

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BUSINESS ASSOCIATES
[45 CFR 164.502(e), 164.504(e), 164.532(d) and (e)]


Q: Has the Secretary exceeded the HIPAA statutory authority by requiring “satisfactory assurances” for disclosures to business associates?


A: No. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) gives the Secretary authority to directly regulate health plans, health care clearinghouses, and certain health care providers. It also grants the Department explicit authority to regulate the uses and disclosures of protected health information maintained and transmitted by covered entities. Therefore, the Department does have the authority to condition
the disclosure of protected health information by a covered entity to a business associate on the covered entity’s having a written contract with that business associate.

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Q: Has the Secretary exceeded the HIPAA statutory authority by requiring “business associates” to comply with the Privacy Rule, even if that requirement is through a contract?


A: The HIPAA Privacy Rule does not “pass through” its requirements to business associates or otherwise cause business associates to comply with the terms of the Rule. The assurances that covered entities must obtain prior to disclosing protected health information to business associates create a set of contractual obligations far narrower than the provisions of the Rule, to protect information generally and help the covered entity comply with its obligations under the Rule. Business associates, however, are not subject to the requirements of the Privacy Rule, and the Secretary cannot impose civil monetary penalties on a business associate for breach of its business associate contract with the covered entity, unless the business associate is itself a covered entity. For example, covered entities do not need to ask their business associates to agree to appoint a privacy officer, or develop policies and procedures for use and disclosure of protected health information.

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Q: What are a covered entity’s obligations under the HIPAA Privacy Rule with respect to protected health information held by a business associate during the
contract transition period?


A: During the contract transition period, covered entities must observe the following responsibilities with respect to protected health information held by their business associates:
• Make information available to the Secretary, including information held by a business associate, as necessary for the Secretary to determine compliance by the covered entity.
• Fulfill an individual’s rights to access and amend his or her protected health information contained in a designated record set, including information held by a business associate, if appropriate, and receive an accounting of disclosures by a business associate.
• Mitigate, to the extent practicable, any harmful affect that is known to the covered entity of an impermissible use or disclosure of protected health information by its business associate.


Covered entities are required to ensure, in whatever reasonable manner deemed effective by the covered entity, the appropriate cooperation by their business associates in meeting these requirements during the transition period. However, a covered entity is not required to obtain the satisfactory assurances required by the Privacy Rule from a business associate to which the transition period applies. Of course, even during the transition period, covered entities still may only disclose protected health information to a business associate for a purpose permitted under the Rule and must apply the minimum necessary standard, as appropriate, to such disclosures.

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Q: Would a business associate contract in electronic form, with an electronic signature, satisfy the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s business associate contract requirements?


A: Yes, assuming that the electronic contract satisfies the applicable requirements of State contract law. The Privacy Rule generally allows for electronic documents, including business associate contracts, to qualify as written documents for purposes of meeting the Rule’s requirements. However, currently, no standards exist under HIPAA for electronic signatures. In the absence of specific standards, covered entities must ensure any electronic signature used will result in a legally binding contract under applicable State or other law.

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Q: Do you have more questions about our online printing services before you outsource your printing and mailing operations? For answers to any of your questions feel free to call us toll free at (877) 210-9377

 

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