In this issue:
1- Fractures and broken bones in Accidents
2. New Health Privacy Law (HIPAA)
3. Upcoming events: New Probate Law Seminar - Tuesday, February 1, 2005 12:30- 1:15 P.M.
1- Fractures and broken bones in Accidents
New article on website www.njlaws.com:
Fracture vs a Break? Despite what you may have heard, a broken bone is not worse than a fracture, they both mean the same thing. In fact, the word fracture, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is defined as "the act of being broken." There are different types of fractures and broken bones, but these words mean the same thing!. See http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/otherfractures/a/fracture.htm
Fractures happen because an area of bone is not able to support the energy placed on it (quite obvious, but it becomes more complicated). Therefore, there are two critical factors in determining why a fracture occurs: * the energy of the event
* the strength of the bone
Treatment of Broken Bones
Fracture Treatment Bone is constantly in a state of turnover, even when not damaged or injured. We continually absorb and replace the cells that make up our bones. Because of this natural turnover, the process of healing bone also comes about quite naturally.
However, in order for a fracture to heal as well as possible, a good reduction, or placement, of the bones must be attained.
According to http://orthopedics.about.com, when doctors talk about reduction or a fracture, or reducing the broken bone, they are talking about improving the alignment of the broken ends of the bone. In most cases reducing a fracture involves placing the broken bone in a cast, often after a little pulling and tugging to achieve improved alignment. If the reduction cannot be satisfactorily achieved (meaning the alignment is either not adequate or not sufficiently stable), then a further procedure may be necessary.
This usually means surgery with fixation of the bone with pins, plates, screws or rods.
One potential complication of fracture treatment is either a mal-union or non-union of bone. This problem is more common in elderly individuals and in people who sustain more severe fractures. In the case of some fractures (e.g. hip fracture in elderly) the rate of non-union is high enough that instead of trying to heal the bone, the damaged segment of bone is replaced (e.g. hip replacement). See http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/otherfractures/a/fracture_2.htm
The treatment of a specific fracture is too complicated to be discussed in a general overview of broken bones, but depends on factors such as:
* Location of the fracture * Severity of angulation or deformity * Potential for healing * Other injuries * Age and activity level of the patient * And many more factors.... In order to understand your treatment, and the options you may have for treatment, you need to discuss your fracture with your doctor. Because treatments are individualized based on the patient, the x-ray appearance of the fracture, and the other factors mentioned, each case must be treated individually.
Underlying Problems The most common cause of fractures is due to trauma.
More information on our new article: Fractures and broken bones in Accidents
2. New Health Privacy Law (HIPAA)
A federal regulation known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was recently adopted regarding disclosure of individually identifiable health information. This necessitated the addition of a special release and consent authority to all healthcare providers before medical information will be released to agents and interested persons of the patients. The effects of HIPAA are far reaching, and can render previously executed estate planning documents useless, without properly executed amendments, specifically addressing these issues. As HIPAA affects not only new documents, any previously executed documents are affected as well. Any previously executed Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, and certainly all Medical Directives now require HIPAA amendments.
The following information was provided by the American Medical Association (AMA).
Today, state and federal laws also attempt to ensure the confidentiality of this sensitive information.
The federal government recently published regulations designed to protect the privacy of your health information. This “privacy rule” protects health information that is maintained by physicians, hospitals, other health care providers and health plans. As of April 14, 2003, your physician will need to comply with the privacy rule’s standards for protecting the confidentiality of your health information.
This new regulation protects virtually all patients regardless of where they live or where they receive their health care. Every time you see a physician, are admitted to the hospital, fill a prescription, or send a claim to a health plan, your physician, the hospital and health plan will need to consider the privacy rule. All health information including paper records, oral communications, and electronic formats (such as e-mail) are protected by the privacy rule.
Patient: When my family member comes to pick me up from the hospital, the doctor will still be able to explain my condition and tell him what to expect when I return home. Right?
True! The Rule permits doctors to discuss a patient’s condition with family or friends involved in the person’s care, unless the patient objects.
Patient: The privacy rule prevents a friend or family member from picking up prescriptions for me. Now I’ll have to get out of my sick bed to get my medicine.
False! The Rule allows a pharmacist to use professional judgment and experience with common practice to make reason-able inferences of the patient’s best interest in allowing a person, other than the patient, to pick up a prescription.
Family The Privacy Rule would have prevented me from finding out information about my son Member: in a hospital in New York on September 11.
False! The Rule permits hospitals and disaster relief agencies to notify family members that a loved one has been admitted to a hospital or has been involved in a disaster.
New national health information privacy standards have been issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The new regulations provide protection for the privacy of certain individually identifiable health data, referred to as Protected Health Information (PHI).
The shift of medical records from paper to electronic formats has increased the potential for individuals to access, use, and disclose sensitive personal health data. Although protecting individual privacy is a long-standing tradition among health-care providers and public health practitioners in the United States, previous legal protections at the federal, tribal, state, and local levels were inconsistent and inadequate. A patchwork of laws provided narrow privacy protections for selected health data and certain keepers of that data
Among other provisions, the Privacy Rule
* gives patients more control over their health information;
* sets boundaries on the use and release of health records;
* establishes appropriate safeguards that the majority of health-care providers and others must achieve to protect the privacy of health information;
* holds violators accountable with civil and criminal penalties that can be imposed if they violate patients' privacy rights;
* strikes a balance when public health responsibilities support disclosure of certain forms of data;
* enables patients to make informed choices based on how individual health information may be used;
* enables patients to find out how their information may be used and what disclosures of their information have been made;
* generally limits release of information to the minimum reasonably needed for the purpose of the disclosure;
* generally gives patients the right to obtain a copy of their own health records and request corrections; and
* empowers individuals to control certain uses and disclosures of their health information.
Powers of attorneys and Living Wills should be updated to reference this New law.
In Personal Injury cases, medical authorizations should:
* specifically identify the protected privacy to be used or disclosed;
* provide the names of persons or organizations, or classes of persons or organizations, who will receive, use, or disclose the protected privacy;
* state the purpose for each request;
* notify individuals of their right to refuse to sign the authorization without negative consequences to treatment, payment, or health plan enrollment or benefit eligibility, except under specific circumstances;
* be signed and dated by the individual or the individual's personal representative;
* be written in plain language;
* include an expiration date or event;
* notify the individual of the right to revoke authorization at any time in writing, and how to exercise that right, and any applicable exceptions to that right under the Privacy Rule; and
* explain the potential for the information to be subject to redisclosure by recipient and no longer protected by the Privacy Rule.
Other information on the HIPAA law at http://www.njlaws.com/hipaa.htm
Other New articles this week on website:
Bus Company Liability for Injuries
3. Upcoming events:
Middlesex County Bar Association, Municipal Court Practice Committee
Meeting: January 31 5:30 at my new office in Edison. Speaker:
Des Abazia, Middlesex County Bar President
New Probate Law Seminar - Tuesday, February 1, 2005 12:30- 1:15 P.M.
WHERE: 2053 Woodbridge, Edison, NJ, Law Office conference room, 2nd floor
COST: Free if your pre-register. This program is limited to 15 people
SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
(Author- Answers to Questions About Probate)
1. The New Probate Law and preparation of Wills
2. Power of Attorney
3. Living Will
4. Administering the Estate/ Probate/Surrogate
5. Revocable Trusts/ Irrevocable Trusts
6. Federal HIPAA Regulations on release of medical info
7. Question and Answer
COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL: Brochures on Wills, "Answers to Questions about Probate" and Administration of an Estate, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Real Estate Sales for Seniors, and Trusts.
Here is your opportunity to listen to an experienced attorney who will answer questions how to distribute your property as you wish and avoid many rigid provisions of state law. For more information on Elder law, visit the Website www.njlaws.com. You can also subscribe to the free email Elder Law newsletter by visiting the website, or sending an email to Kenv@njlaws.com.
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Thank you for reading our newsletter! God Bless America USA #1
Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
NEW PHONE 732-572-0500
New (Fax) 732-572-0030
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