Did you know ChemDesign is self-funded for health care? As such, having access to protected health information of employees comes with great responsibility. HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) isn’t just a regulation that medical providers need to worry about. It is a real law, and applies to employers who sponsor health plans as well.
The human resources department at ChemDesign made the decision to look to their own talent to understand health care privacy. With solid experience in healthcare and finance, Vicki Kasper took on the challenge of becoming ChemDesign’s first HIPPA Privacy Officer.
Vicki is the quarterback of our HIPAA Compliance Plan, responsible for the enforcement of employee Privacy Rights. She oversees all ongoing activities related to the development, implementation and maintenance of the privacy policies in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. She is required to complete HIPPA awareness training every 24 months.
“I believe the quality of care is better under our self-funded model, plus I’ve seen a shift in employees being in control of their healthcare expenses.” Vicki stresses the importance of being a savvy consumer with every employee, understanding costs and ratings of providers offering care.
Embracing the consumer mindset in healthcare is not easy. She did spend a lot of time explaining of benefits and deductibles when the program began. Now she has Patient Care, a patient advocacy organization based in Milwaukee, to help with many core needs, including:
- Benefits education
- Claims and billing issues
- Cost and quality research
- Prescription drug questions
- Eligibility clarification
Patient Care is a benefit that ChemDesign provides free of charge to employees. Their advisors act as serve as a liaison between employees and health insurance providers. They will answer questions for the family, as well as for issues involving aging parents.
Patient Care provides the same consistency employees have experienced with the human resources team at ChemDesign. Ingrid Davis, an advocacy consultant with Patient Care, has provided onsite forums for employees to address their health care benefits questions and concerns. She has been the contact for ChemDesign since the program began.
Implementing the self-funded model for healthcare takes considerable time and effort. Why did ChemDesign take on this great responsibility? Ultimately, it is the belief within leadership at ChemDesign that everyone needs an advocate to help them navigate the complicated health care system. Empowered people, with support from people like Vicki and the team at Patient Care, become better consumers of health care and healthier people in the process.