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Friday, October 2, 2015

Help! A Dog Hit Me While My Waterskis Were On Fire!

Yesterday, the United States joined the rest of the world with its adoption of the International Classification of Disease codes, Revision 10.

Originally designed for statistical purposes, the ICD is now the de facto database organizing protocol for the US medical billing system.  Medicaid, Medicare and now all private insurers are transitioning to the new system. There is a one-year grace period.

How dangerous is this world, anyway?

This change is very important, and even before it is in full use, it provides some important insight into the dangers we face.  So as a public service, we at SafelyFiled want you to know some of the potential dangers you face.  We didn't make these up.  The ICD must actually consider these a risk, otherwise there would be no code for them.

For example, you could be injured and if your injuries were coded as V54.1XXA and V91.07XA, it was because you were struck by a dog and burned while on water skis.  Don't believe me?  Take a look at these screenshots below.  My questions are, "How did the dog hit you?  Did he jump out of the boat?  And what did you use to get your skis to burn?"

Friday, September 18, 2015

You Are Responsible For Your Health Care

You have an absolute obligation to help your doctors and medical staff provide you with the best care possible.  You simply can't get good care if you don't do your part.  Remember, you are your best healthcare advocate.

Here's What Doesn't Help

If your doctor asks you what medication you are taking and you tell her you are taking three white round pills a day, you are not much help.

If you are asked if you are allergic to any medications and you say yes, but you don't remember which ones, you are not much help.

If you list your prior injuries, but neglect to mention the concussion from the auto accident you were in 10 years ago, you are not much help.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Check is Not in The Mail? A Life Hack for Digital Person-to-Person Payment

Secure Payment via Encrypted, Permitted & Shared Storage

Trying to get your son or daughter a check quickly? Need to pay back a friend for a small loan? Late on a payment to a contractor? We are always on the lookout for unique ways to utilize SafelyFiled’s signature blend of enterprise-grade security measures and simple, yet tight and effective permission controls for completing tasks. Here is a new life hack to avoid incurring wire and overnight delivery charges, and deliver payment from a personal check faster than you can say the U.S. post office's unofficial creed.

  • First, make sure whoever is receiving the check has digital remote deposit set up through their bank. Most major banks offer the service through account features or mobile applications and they are typically quite secure, simple and fast. Double-check to see what file types the bank accepts—jpg, tif, png, gif—and any special size or dimension requirements for the image.

  • Second, scan the check that you want to send for payment, front and back. We are ScanSnap fans, however, other high-quality scanners will do. You also may be able to get by with taking close-up photos with your smart phone camera. After capturing the images, temporarily save the files to your device in a format and size that agrees with your bank’s uploading requirements.

  • Third, upload the check images to your SafelyFiled account where you can title, tag, make notations and even set a reminder for the check if you want to take action later. You will also want to add your intended recipient’s email and set document-level permissions in your account before sending a secure link to access the check. Rest assured, your files are encrypted when they are sent and stored (see our note below for additional information). Also, don’t forget to delete the local files of your scanned check images saved on your device.

And that’s it for sending! Receiving the check is just as simple ...

  • First, your recipient should have temporary access to your scanned check since you added their email for sharing and set permissions in SafelyFiled, along with expiration for access. The recipient should receive a link to the scanned and encrypted files, which they can then grab and download locally.

  • Next, after downloading, your recipient should print out the two files—the front and back of the check. Importantly, they should make sure that the banking and routing numbers do not smudge so their bank can read the information clearly. Then add a restrictive endorsement on the back of the check with corresponding signature and “For Deposit Only” to prevent fraud.

  • Last, recipients should place the printed front and back of the endorsed check in a well-lit area, like a kitchen table or home office. They can then upload the front and back through their bank’s remote deposit application, via their website or mobile. Once accepted, void the check and delete the local files of the scanned images.

We think this life hack is a bit like check delivery at the speed of the Internet through your own "armored vehicle." SafelyFiled has many other uses beyond facilitating person-to-person payments too. But cost for this postage, not to mention speed of delivery, beats bank wire transfer fees, the U.S. Post Office and other postal services, FedEx, UPS and PayPal by a wide margin. Plus, your recipients will know exactly when and where to expect payment. 

Additional note on security: we respect your need for confidentiality and work hard to protect your privacy. SafelyFiled maintains expertly designed algorithms (using AES and RSA) at the core of our security architecture. SafelyFiled ensures that your files—including checks—are protected both when they are stored in the cloud through 256-bit encryption and while they are transmitted over the Internet.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Recovering from a Natural Disaster Requires Advance Preparation: Tips from Professional Organizers

Surviving a natural disaster is one thing.  Recovering from it is another.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall with wind speeds of 127 mph.  By the time it was over, 1,833 people had died and damages were estimated at $108 Billion.  An additional $75 billion was paid for in disaster relief.  According to Data Center,  Katrina was the third
deadliest hurricane in American history and the deadliest since the introduction of the weather satellite.   It was the costliest hurricane in American history.  The pain that accompanied the loss of family members, homes and prized possessions is immeasurable.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Identity Protection Fundamentals: How to Manage Identity Theft Recovery

By Garnet Steen, Founder and President of RelyData and Control Your ID

Each year, about 10 million people become the victim of identity theft. Many more have unauthorized charges made on their credit cards or have to deal with some other form of fraud. Unfortunately, a do-it-yourself identity restoration can take weeks or months and require dozens of hours of your time. In this, the third and final installment in a series on using digital document management to protect yourself from identity theft, SafelyFiled and Control Your ID will cover ways in which digital document management can help you recover from identity theft.

For most people, dealing with identity theft means dealing with organizations like credit bureaus, the IRS, your bank or your insurance company. Some of these organizations will want paperwork from you, others will provide you with paperwork, and in many cases you’ll have conversations you want to log for future reference. Let’s go over the basics.

First, no matter who you deal with you will likely need a fraud affidavit and a police report. Both documents are important, not because the government is likely to investigate your identity theft case, but because organizations that have been defrauded want you to swear out an official statement before they will recognize your claim of fraud. These organizations know that true victims don’t mind filing a police report while those simply trying to avoid paying their bills are very hesitant to perjure themselves.

You can download a standard fraud affidavit form from the FTC and after you complete it you may need to get it notarized. Make sure the notary stamp is in ink and not simply an embossment, so that it will show up in digital copies. Police reports can be filed with any police department including campus police. There is no need to travel to the jurisdiction where the fraud was committed. You can usually obtain a copy of your police report within 24 hours; sometimes you can get a copy immediately.

Second, if you’ve taken our advice from our first two articles, you will have digital copies of your personal identification and your bank, credit card, utility and tax statements. The identification will be needed to verify your name, date of birth, your mailing address and your appearance. If you have credit card accounts that you need to cancel, this will provide you with the contact information and the account numbers to do so.

Third, you’ll want to log all your correspondence by mail or telephone with anyone you talk to, especially the credit bureaus, collection agencies or any organization that was defrauded. You don’t need to create anything fancy – a simple spreadsheet or a text document will suffice. Just make sure to log the date, time, organization and person you corresponded with, any documents you sent or received from them, the purpose of the correspondence and the next steps, if any. An organization might commit to sending you a confirmation letter, or removing a derogatory item from your credit report within 30 days. Make a note of these commitments so you can follow-up as needed.

If you follow these steps and use encrypted digital document management tools like SafelyFiled to maintain your personal records and a log of your correspondence, you’ll be well positioned to manage your own identity recovery. SafelyField blog subscribers can get $25 off Control Your ID's Comprehensive Level (regularly $99.90 per year) identity protection service with no credit card required. To get the offer, just subscribe to SafelyFiled's email list to the right by: submitting your name, email address and entering 'CYID3' in the message box. Subscribe by August 31, 2015 (11:59 p.m. PDT) to qualify.

Friday, August 14, 2015

College, Your Child's Health and a Parent's Right to Know

Over 18 million undergraduate students will be attending college in 2015.1  The majority will be women. And just about all of the students will be over 18.

This means more than you might realize.

It's a New World

Years ago, at a parent orientation for college freshman, my wife and I were advised that even though we may be paying the entire cost of our son's education, we would not be entitled to see his grades.  That seemed a bit unfair, but the moderator at the orientation told us about the privacy laws and how it not only affected grades and any disciplinary actions, but also health records.

That same year, my son changed his doctor from his pediatrician to the same internist I had had for 25 years. When I asked our internist how my son was doing, he gave me a blank stare and reminded me that my son had not given him permission to discuss any aspect of his health with me. "HIPAA," he explained.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Identity Protection Fundamentals: Storing Critical Identity Records

By Garnet Steen, Founder and President of RelyData and Control Your ID

Have you gone paperless with your banking, utility and other documents or are you hanging on to physical copies to review each month and store in case you need them? Whether you’ve gone paperless or are keeping it old school, are those important documents handy? Because if you can’t access them when you need them, they aren’t doing you much good. In this the second in a three part series by SafelyFiled and Control Your ID, we will discuss the importance of digitizing paper documents and transferring digital documents for safekeeping and archival purposes.

There are many reasons why you might need your medical, insurance, banking or utility records. Perhaps you will need to dispute an error with your bank or utility account. You might also need these records for tax preparation, especially if you operate a small business out of your home and want to deduct a portion of your home expenses. Less common, but very important, you might also need these documents to respond to an identity theft incident.