Sorting It Out
by Erez Lirov
Credit cards can create a variety of compliance issues for practices
What are Shannon’s next steps to sort out her credit card system?
â€œMike!â€ Shannon checked everything in the physical therapy facility with a practiced eye as she walked across the carpeted floor. She loved to see everyone busy and engaged, and things were going well at the moment. She had a word with the receptionist and steered her husband out the door.
â€œI was hoping youâ€™d have time to come for a walk,â€ Mike said. â€œI needed to get away from the restaurant for a bit.â€
â€œProblems?â€ Shannonâ€™s voice was concerned.
â€œNo, just a need for a change of scenery, a breath of air.â€ Mike took his wifeâ€™s hand. â€œIt looks as though things are going well at your place, too.â€
â€œDefinitely,â€ Shannon agreed. â€œI know it wonâ€™t last –â€
Mike laughed. With two small businesses in the family, there were bound to be plenty of problems to discuss.
â€œSeriously,â€ Shannon continued, â€œI want your advice about something. Itâ€™s not really a problem, but I think I could cut costs if I made some changes with the credit cards.â€
â€œNow youâ€™re talking!â€ Mike threw his arms wide. â€œI canâ€™t believe you guys post everything manually!â€
â€œI never really thought about it before,â€ said Shannon, â€œbut today I was watching and it just seems so complicated. We take cash, checks, credit cards, and debit cards for deductibles, balances, all the things we sell at the counterâ€¦ And we take the information over the phone or copy it off the card. Tana took the info via text today.â€
â€œIâ€™d have thought that might be a HIPAA issue,â€ Mike said with one eyebrow raised.
â€œI think it might be all kinds of an issue,â€ Shannon confirmed. â€œPlus, since we have so many different things going on, I can really see how there could be errors. Theresa said she wasnâ€™t sure we always know when a card is declined, or if we always follow up on those cases to get alternate forms of payment, and I can believe it. It seems like practically everyone in the place took a payment at some point this morning. I donâ€™t see how we could keep track of everything.â€
â€œAt the restaurant, the server picks up the card at the end of the meal. One type of transaction, and we know exactly who did it and when. It doesnâ€™t sound like thatâ€™s true for you.â€
â€œExactly. I wonder, too, whether there isnâ€™t a bit of psychological barrier in having to pull out that credit card.â€ Shannon checked her watch. â€œIâ€™d better get back to work. Thanks for listening.â€
â€œIâ€™m happy to listen,â€ Mike said, turning back. â€œWhatâ€™s your next step? I could hook you up with the company that supplied our credit card terminal.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know whether thatâ€™s what we need or not,â€ Shannon said. â€œDo you think we have to have something different Â to be HIPAA compliant?â€
â€œI donâ€™t think I can answer that question,â€ Mike said. â€œTime for me to get back to my own credit card machine.â€