Demand Letter, Legal Ransomware

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Hospitals proved to be the most vulnerable targets from last weeks ransomware attack—a type of cyber attack where criminal hackers encrypt data on individuals’ or institutions’ computers and demand a ransom to unlock the information.

As if that wasn’t a big enough threat, I’m learning that dental practices are also becoming targets, and in this case, it’s perfectly legal. My healthcare clients have reported receiving demand letters from lawyers threatening legal action to force compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

It’s a legal shakedown to extract payment for lack of compliance with the 1991 Act. It’s possible because of lack of awareness on the part of practices and their web developers. Non-compliance comes at a high price. They threaten legal action unless you agree to their demands. The good news is compliance is fairly simple to achieve and to maintain

It’s all about effective communications with people who have vision, hearing, or speech disabilities. It starts with your web presence and extends to communications by telephone and when they present at your practice. I was asked to weigh-in on this issue because of a scary sounding email received by a practice. I’m not sure what I dislike more, the demand letters from lawyers or "the sky is falling" messages from web developers. 

Fact or Fiction

Let’s start with the facts:

  • It’s not a scam. The requirements for effective communication under the act were published in 2010. 
  • The requirements are specific. No guesswork required. Developers have a checklist and a web-based tool they can use to test for compliance.
  • Staff training will be necessary to maintain compliance. However, your investment increases the quality of the patient experience while significantly reducing the chance your practice will become a target.  

What’s Next

Here at Leveraged Unlimited, we have developed a process to address this challenge. Below are some “First Steps” you take to learn if AwDA compliance is a concern for your practice.

  • Ask your web presence developer - contact your web professional to learn if your site is compatible.
  • Self-testing - use the WAVE tool to assess the risk.
  • Review existing procedures - Determine your level of compliance during your daily operations.

Take a Deep Breath

At Leverage Unlimited we believe regulatory compliance in highly regulated industries is fairly easy to maintain. Expectations are clearly spelled out. Uncertainty is eliminated. We also believe the cost of compliance is much less that non-compliance. In fact, it’s just good business.

Concerned about your AwDA compliance? Give Jerry a call with your questions. 904-566-8325