March 22, 2016

Anders Named a “Firm to Watch”

Accounting Today named Anders to the “Beyond the Top 100: Firms to Watch” list for the fourth year in a row. Anders also made the “Top Firms: Midwest” list for the eleventh consecutive year.

The lists appears in a special supplement to the March 2016 edition of Accounting Today.   Anders comes in at #16 in a total list of 33. Anders revenues totaled $28.3 million in 2015, with those on the Top 100 List starting at $35 million and upwards.  Anders ranks #11 on the Top 21 in the Midwest list, which had the strongest year of all of the regions in both revenue and average growth rates.

Sign up to view the full 2016 Top 100 Firms and Regional Leaders Whitepaper.

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March 16, 2016

Performed Depreciation Planning and Cost Segregation Study Resulting in $172,000 in Tax Savings

Through depreciation planning surrounding the IRS Repair Regulations, along with performing a cost segregation study, Anders accelerated over $220,000 in depreciation deductions to save the owners of a medical office building over $100,000 in Federal and State income taxes on their 2014 individual income tax return.  As a result of the accelerated first year deductions and additional accelerated deductions during the first five years of the building’s life, this tax planning will result in a total of over $172,000 in tax savings for the owners over the next five years.

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March 14, 2016

Tax Time Brings New Phone Scams

Tax season is in full swing, and so are phone scams claiming to be from the IRS. Scam artists are using new tactics, and some will call saying they have your tax return and just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scammer will ask you for personal information such as a Social Security number or personal financial information, such as bank numbers or credit cards.

IRS Tax Scams

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling and will impersonate IRS officials, demanding that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email. They’ve even begun politely asking taxpayers to verify their identity over the phone. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

If you’re unsure if a call you receive is a scam, keep in mind that the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills.
  • Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or email.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Steps to take if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money or to verify your identity:

  • If you know that you owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of scams that continually change. Visit Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts on IRS.gov to stay updated on tax scams.

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March 5, 2016

29th Annual Hoops for Hope Tournament

It’s March, and at Anders, that means stacks of tax returns, audits and MARCH MADNESS. Anders’ annual Hoops for Hope basketball pool is underway and we’re looking forward to the biggest year yet. Now in its 29th year, the pool has grown from just a small office pool to one that includes clients, colleagues and friends of the firm.

Nine years ago we changed the focus to raising money for Anders’ Charity of
Choice.  Each year, Anders partners and staff elect a charity to support and Hoops for Hope has become one of the year’s largest fundraisers. Anders has donated all of the prizes and 100% of the proceeds collected go to the charity. This year’s Charity of Choice is Stray Rescue of St. Louis, a local organization with the sole purpose of rescuing abandoned, abused and neglected animals and restoring them to health to be placed in loving, adoptive homes.

Five years ago, with “tongue in cheek,” we added a Triple Diamond Super Platinum Sponsorship. With expectations of the tournament being bigger each year, four years ago we raised the name to Triple-Diamond MEGA Platinum Sponsorship. How can you get bigger than MEGA? For just $100 or a prize, a company or individual can get their logo displayed on our Hoops for Hope web page. We’ve already had an amazing amount of support from clients and friends eager to be a sponsor. With their help, we will be able to help Stray Rescue of St. Louis rescue and find forever homes for animals in our community. If you are interested in becoming a “sponsor” by donating a prize or $100, please email Craig Campbell at ccampbell@anderscpa.com

We hope you’ll join in the fun and participate in our Hoops for Hope tournament that benefits such a great cause.

Picks are now closed. Visit http://amdllp.com/ncaa2016/ for the latest standings and updates.

 

Thank you to our 2016 Triple-Diamond MEGA Platinum Sponsors!


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March 1, 2016

Check Excluded Provider Lists for Both Clinical and Administrative Employees

Utilizing Excluded Providers is forbidden and can invoke significant penalties.

It is important to regularly check your employees and subcontractors against the OIG’s List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) and other exclusions databases. Health care providers who hire or contract with an individual on the LEIE may be subject to civil monetary penalties (“CMP”) if they submit claims to a Federal health care program for items or services provided, directly or indirectly, by excluded individuals.

Many providers mistakenly think they only need to check clinicians against the excluded provider databases, when in fact, they may need to check every employee and subcontractor.  The prohibition includes anyone involved in direct patient care, indirect patient care, administrative and management services, as well as items or services furnished at the medical direction or on the prescription of an excluded person when the person furnishing the services either knows or should know of the exclusion.

In its 2013 Special Advisory Bulletin, HHS gave updated guidance on how to comply with this regulation.

How to Determine Whether a Person or Entity Is an Excluded Provider

Exclusion List Check Best Practices

  1. Check the LEIE monthly. While not required, HHS recommends checking personnel rosters, including temporary staff working under staffing company contracts, against the LEIE exclusion list once a month, as it is updated monthly.
    1. It would be best practice to print out screen shots or otherwise document proof that the list was checked, as companies that violate the exclusion rules can have their Medicare payments taken back, plus fines of $10,000 per claim, if anyone involved in the care was excluded.
  2. When verifying individuals and entities using the LEIE and other exclusion databases, use a very broad search to assure you don’t miss anyone.
    1. Search with first initial only.
    2. Request and search all previous last names (such as maiden name).
    3. If you’ve conducted a pre-employment background check, use this to identify additional names to search.
    4. Search variations of commonly altered names (such as Jim for James).
  3. Search all available exclusion databases prior to hire.
    1. In addition to the LEIE, providers should check available State Medicaid Exclusion Databases. Ideally, all federal and state exclusion lists should be checked, because a provider excluded in one state is excluded in all states.
    2. Other possible databases to check include the National Practitioner Data Bank, the Health Care Integrity and Protection Databank, and the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) and System for Award Management (SAM).
  4. Be cautious with contracted entities and services.
    1. When using a contracted provider, either get written assurance that the entity is checking the LEIE, or check the provider yourself.
    2. While a provider may hire another entity for exclusion database monitoring services, the provider is ultimately responsible for compliance.

Exclusion List Helpful Hints

  • If you have only a few names to search, consider using the LEIE Online Searchable Database. It allows you to search up to five names at one time and to verify identities using a Social Security number or date of birth.
  • If you have a large group of individuals to search, consider downloading the entire list via the LEIE Downloadable Database to your computer and using a spreadsheet or database program to perform searches.
  • If you think an employee may be on the excluded parties list, request the employee to provide a letter of proof from the OIG or the state Medicaid agency documenting that there is no exclusion.
  • If you receive a positive match, check the Special Advisory Bulletin on the Effect of an Exclusion for guidance. If you have already employed the individual, check the Self-Disclosure Protocol.

Update Your Corporate Compliance Plan to Include Exclusion List Checks

Your corporate compliance plan should include policies on checking OIG and state maintained exclusion lists prior to hire and on an ongoing basis, as well as the procedures to follow while checking the exclusion lists.

Additional Resources for Information about Excluded Providers:

  1. Health and Human Services. This Web site, hosted by the Office of the Inspector General within the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), outlines their exclusion program and includes a searchable version of their List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE).
  2. Government Services Administration. This Web site is provided as a public service by the Government Services Administration for the purpose of efficiently and conveniently disseminating information on parties that are excluded from receiving federal contracts, certain subcontracts, and certain federal financial and non-financial assistance and benefits, called the System for Award Management (SAM).
  3. Missouri Medicaid Audit & Compliance (MMAC) list of terminated providers.
  4. Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) list of excluded providers.

Article was originally published in the LHE Monitor.

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March 1, 2016

Health Care Industry Data Breaches Call for IT Security Infrastructure Evaluation and Staff Training

The recent ransomware attack on a California hospital has highlighted the breadth of hospital and other medical entities’ vulnerability in data breach situations.  After having difficulty accessing patient medical records on the hospital’s computer network, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center staff determined that a malware attack had locked access to certain systems. According to numerous reports, the hospital’s network was down for a week, with no access to electronic patient records or email.  The hospital later paid a deemed $17,000 ransom to provide the decryption key.

Typically gaining access to the IT network via a legitimate-looking email opened by an employee, who then might innocently open an attachment, or provide key information such as a username or password, ransomware is software that deploys and locks any or all of the facility’s information system, demanding a ransom be paid to unlock it.  Patient and other records may or may not be stolen during these attacks.  Whether or not an entity is able to remediate the breach without paying the ransom, dealing with these attacks is costly.  However, in addition to the frustrations and cost incurred by a typical business, ransomware deployment in a medical facility may disrupt patient care, possibly with life-threatening implications.

The success of the hackers in California sets a precedent for cyber security breaches in the healthcare industry, and calls for medical facilities to find increasingly aggressive and proactive solutions to security threats.

Aside from outdated software in medical devices and systems, perhaps the biggest threat to a medical entity’s security is its own employees.  It is critical that employees are regularly trained on their role in maintaining IT security, including safe internet usage and how to recognize and process illegitimate emails.

To protect yourself and your practice from this industry epidemic, there are actions you must take:

  • Reevaluate security policies and procedures to mitigate data breaches
  • Review, test, evaluate and modify any incident response and data breach plans
  • Conduct regular training and education to employees

If you have questions about how your practice can stay protected against cyber security breaches, contact the Anders Health Care Group.

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