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Happy New Year! For whatever reason, I am not having trouble writing 2019. I am just having trouble losing that 2018 holiday cheer as measured by the holes on my belt! With the first fishing trip in the books, I am ready to tackle work and life and this blog even! I mean compared to fishing in the teens where the wind is blowing and your fingers hurt while you are breaking your rod guides free of ice, how bad can writing a blog be? Did I mention my 23-inch rainbow trout on a sink tip goldie?

The topic is HIPAA rules. Like everything else, we have become used to signing these agreements to protect our health data and moving on with life. But of course, familiarity with a risk doesn’t lessen the risk. I just read that the Department of Health and Human Services reported 229 health care breaches affecting 6.1 million people last year. Ouch!

At Big Grins, we take the threat to your health information as seriously as we value your trust in us. I get patients all the time who tell me, “Maddie goes to my school and she comes here too, do you know her?” I also get parents who ask about other families and even physicians that tell my patients about our mutual patients. Those loose references are in fact a HIPAA violation, so we can’t answer those questions. We actually get annual training on securing patient records. We do so with charts under lock and key, firewalls, back up hard drives to prevent ransomware threats, encrypted computers, encrypted emails between dental offices, the list goes on and on. Our computer partners at the local Computek Dental compliment my office manager, Kristin and our staff all the time as being the most HIPAA compliant of all their national clients.

The bottom line is HIPAA compliance is like anything else we do. Put the patient first, don’t cut corners with materials or procedures, be fair with people and have their best long-term interests at heart. I may be changing my pants size in 2019, but not our service. For questions on this topic or any other please email me at I love what I do, and I love helping you raise healthy happy kids!