Archive for April, 2011
Lea has extensive experience in all facets of the health care industry. Her experience includes medical claims adjudication, repricing for out of network, hospital auditing and ERISA appeals. Lea also has a technical diploma in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding and a Bachelor’s Degree summa cum laude from DeVry University in Technical Management. She is an expert in the application of ERISA to get commercial payers to pay the benefits due to patients and providers.
Company website: www.erisarevenuesolutions.com
- ERISA, The Secret to Recover Provider Revenues (March 23rd, 2011)
Contact Lea Fowler
Expert Article by: Michael Spadea
The DOJ is going after the proposed amendments to ECPA that would require warrants for accessing data stored in the cloud.
[Assistant Attorney General] Baker told a Senate committee that requiring a search warrant to obtain stored e-mail could have an “adverse impact” on criminal investigations. And making location information only available with a search warrant, he said, would hinder “the government’s ability to obtain important information in investigations of serious crimes.”
That’s just bull-hooey. Apparently one of the pillars of our freedom, that citizens be safe from unwarranted government intrusion and free to challenge such intrusions, is not necessary in a free society according to the DoJ. These amendments would make the protections we have in the “real world” apply to the virtual world (our Gmail and Hotmail accounts, online data storage).
To be clear, I want to distinguish between “content” and “non-content”. Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has traditionally distinguished between the two. For example, the same protections extended to the content of a phone call between two people are not extended to obtain a list of numbers dialed (e.g., a pen register). I would suggest that meta data is content, but the phone numbers called from a cell phone are not. These analogies would be consistent with current case law interpretations (that’s a general statement with which you can find exceptions, but as a general rule it’s correct). I love the circular reasoning that the courts would be over burdened. Funding for the courts has never been adequate and is now being cut in most states. So let’s cut funding for the courts and then use that as an excuse for not passing these necessary amendments because the courts would be burdened. My cat can see through that logical fallacy.
The requirement to obtain search warrants has not led to the collapse of our society thus far. If speed is an issue, amend judicial process to allow electronic warrants through digital judicial signatures so that warrant applications and their approval can be filed and issued instantly through electronic process. I also love that the testimony claims that ECPA in its current state is critical to national security. If you read the testimony, there’s nothing in ECPA that the DoJ relies on to conduct its business the way it does currently. It’s what isn’t in the law that allows them to operate the way they do currently. Also, in none of the illustrative scenarios in his testimony does Baker say that law enforcement could not have obtained a warrant.
This is a crucial debate that if not resolved correctly will chill both free speech and innovation. New technologies should not result in the reduction of the right to privacy and in particular, the right to be free from unwarranted government intrusion.
Guest Article by: Jonathan Dickstein
The high profile patent battles periodically flaring up between technology companies are increasingly being overshadowed by the steady rise of trade secret wars, now being waged across a variety of different industries. The latest chapter in this epic IP struggle has been initiated by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals who filed suit against Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a leader in RNAi technology, over the alleged misuse of Tekmira’s proprietary Lipid Nano-particle technology used to deliver RNAi therapeutics. Perhaps this should come as no surprise given the increasing need for technology companies to enter into ever more, increasingly complex and intertwined, collaborations and partnerships to get their products successfully developed and commercially launched. Even the most well-intentioned collaboration partners can face unexpected problems when personnel involved with the collaborative relationship are needed to work on their company’s separate projects or next generation technology in areas related to the collaboration’s subject matter. Clean rooms and virtual walls designed to prevent allegations of trade secret theft are fine in theory but often difficult to implement or maintain in practice. Even the most vigilant of companies can find their key employees “tainted” by interactions with the company’s technology partners — and most companies are not that vigilant.
Fortunately, a well-structured and carefully considered collaboration agreement (along with thoughtful negotiations to set the expectations and ground rules between parties) can help mitigate the risks of trade secret misuse claims while still allowing the parties to proceed with vital collaborative work. All companies in a collaboration have an important interest in protecting their own trade secrets, but doing so without interfering with the important work of the collaboration as well as each company’s independent business efforts outside the collaboration. Finding that balance is not easy but, with patience and attention, the parties can go a long way toward achieving that goal through a carefully negotiated agreement. In my fifteen-plus years of structuring and negotiating collaboration and joint development agreements, I have seen this issue tackled many times, often successfully. Although avoiding the issue during negotiations may be tempting, the time and effort is well spent, particularly in light of the increasing trade secret wars.
Tekmira files suit against Alnylam for misuse of trade secrets & confidential information
Click here to read more articles from Jonathan Dickstein
Expert Article by Larry Bodine
CRM is the red-headed stepchild of law firm marketing. Lawyers are by nature reluctant to share their hard-earned contacts with others. CRM is a headache for marketing departments, which have the thankless task of updating the databases. CRM rollouts have an 80% failure rate, according to CRM.com.
But impressively, a Los Angeles law firm “rebranded” its CRM system, presented it as something new and inspired widespread usage of the system by the firms lawyers and staff. “Greenberg Glusker transformed its CRM from DOA to BFF,” quipped Director of Marketing Jonathan R. Fitzgarrald.
It took 12 months — but new business linked to the initiative includes representation of investment banker in $150M financing, with more than $600,000 estimated in attorneys’ fees. And the firm won an LMA Your Honor award to boot.
The 70-lawyer firm called it C-P-R (Clients, Prospects, Relationships) for CRM. “Our strategic objective was to identify and promote cross-selling opportunities across all practices of the firm, and increase efficiency and effectiveness of practice development efforts by leveraging a CRM application,” Fitzgarrald said. “Our marketing goal was to foster a firm-wide, cross-selling culture by building trust and confidence in a CRM application.”
It took an internal marketing campaign featuring posters and “desktop drops” to get skeptical lawyers and secretaries to come to training sessions. IT and marketing put their heads together to create a new user interface and navigation. The firm use real-life scenarios to train their people on creating a new company profile and creating a person profile.
And by the end, the firm got an astonishingly high participation rate. To find out how the firm did it, visit the LawMarketing Channel to read Greenberg Glusker Transforms its CRM from DOA to BFF.
April 11th, 2011
in Financial Services |
DCMA, Leading Contractors to Discuss How to Reduce the Risk of Adverse Audit Findings and Disallowed Costs!
As you seek to safeguard profitability and competitiveness, you cannot afford to miss American Conference Institute’s 2nd Advanced Forum on “Government Contract Cost & Pricing”. Back by popular demand, this industry-led forum is the premier networking and benchmarking event for addressing the most critical cost and pricing issues impacting your business.
Why You Should Attend:
This expert article was contributed by Elizabeth Galpin of PAYG Solutions. Will the Internet and Cloud based technologies benefit the poor? Post your comments below or discuss this article with MFI experts in the Microfinance Investment Leadership group on Linkedin.
Will the Internet and Cloud based technologies benefit the poor?
One of PAYG’s aims is to drive down the fees, charges and interest rates that customers are paying to MFIs for their loans, and we hope that by providing as many bells and whistles and tools for the MFIs, we’ll help them to maximise efficiency in order to do this.
There are 5 new MIS systems for MFIs that are run as SaaS (Service as a Software), including the Cloud version of Mifos, Mambu and ours. Although there will always be some pain associated with moving from one MIS platform to another, the benefits to MFIs of having their MIS hosted in the cloud / run as a SaaS solution, are quite extensive. First of all there is the immediate benefit of reduced overheads and costs of running the system, buying and maintaining the hardware and backing it up. The operational costs of SaaS will be cheaper than the costs of purchasing software and paying annual licence fees for stand-alone software. Then there are the benefits of all the real-time transactions that can be processed without the need for manual intervention, and the fact that the system can be accessed from any number of different locations, including mobile phones. The ease with which the system can be integrated into whatever mobile wallets or prepay cards are dominant locally, automatic reconciliation of these payments and the facility to provide Field Officers with handsets so that they are able to transact out in the field, all provide numerous opportunities for efficiencies and cost-savings, as well as a potential reduction in administrative overhead.
Of course, ultimately the common goals of ALL MFI software should be to reduce delinquency, increase transparency, improve reporting and control of the MFI’s money, thereby attracting further investment.
We’re trying to automate wherever possible by catering for a very wide range of loan products – loans providing farmers with goods, loans whereby products such as solar panels and stoves are delivered instead of money. In both these cases we are automating the loan process by creating the loan automatically when the product is distributed, to cut out as much administrative overhead as possible. Keeping track of farmers’ yields as a means of providing collateral for the loan is another approach. All these things are happening right now – all trying to maximise the efficiency of the MFIs, with the aim of benefitting the customer as much as possible.
Mobile money provides another example whereby technology is impacting upon MFIs and altering the role of the Field Officer. Not only does mobile money provide a means of disbursing loans and collecting repayments, another potential opportunity that has been widely discussed is the possibility of Field Officers doubling up as mobile money or Banking agents in rural areas to recycle the cash in the community and reduce the need for time-consuming and therefore expensive trips to the banks.
Other recent innovations / use of technology that have had an impact on MFIs are the MIX market, peer to peer lending and using the internet as a means of matching borrowers and investors. Kiva is probably the most well-known organisation in this area, but there are plenty of other examples out there. Peer to peer lending to SMEs, using the Internet as the medium, is gaining in popularity and is seen as a way of complementing the services that the MFIs provide.
In the UK there are too many examples of on-line loan services to even mention. These tend to focus more on consumptive lending, than Productive Lending, and are therefore in a different ‘space’. But of course, in the UK, most companies will do a credit score on the customer, there is more regulation and transparency and Lenders have to publish their APR (Annual Percentage Rate) so that customers are able to easily compare loans on offer.
Turning attention back to the developing markets then, and I’m going to concentrate on the Kenyan market, because it is seen to be a market leader in mobile money and innovation, and I have a little more first-hand experience in Kenya than in other countries. On-line loans and text loans are starting to become available. Products like M-Kesho provide easy credit. Peer to peer lending to businesses and SMEs will definitely make an impact, and may mean that MFIs will have to start working harder to retain their customers. Kenya is considering implementing a Credit bureau for MFIs (this has already been done in several other developing markets such as Peru, Guatemala and Bolivia, and I know Pakistan is also introducing a credit bureau.) In theory, being able to credit score customers means that there is a reduced risk of delinquency for customers with a good credit score, and they should benefit from this by attracting a lower interest rate on their loans. I have no idea, and would be keen to find out, whether that has been the case in countries where credit bureaux for MFIs have been implemented.
BUT who is going to benefit the most out of all of these advances which technology is providing? The software providers? The MFIs? Hosting companies? The investors? The MNOs running the mobile money services and providing the shortcodes for SMS traffic? The middle men running the service to match investors and borrowers? Or will it be the Customers i.e. the poor? Are those of us who think we’re providing a service to improve the lives of poor people just kidding ourselves? Are we actually going to make a difference to peoples’ lives? It’s something I personally worry about, and I am genuinely interested in other peoples’ views.
April 4th, 2011
in Advertising & Marketing |
10 Reasons You Can’t Afford to Miss the 2011 LMA Annual Conference
1. A true industry gathering: The conference attracts legal marketers of all specialties and experience levels, from firms large and small, who recognize that the LMA Annual Conference is the single most important professional development activity they undertake each year.
2. Actionable learning: The structure and content of the 2011 LMA Annual Conference has been designed to ensure that you – and your firm - retain and enhance your competitive advantage.
3. Outcome-based program: Boost your firm’s business development and marketing efforts through the outcome-based conference tracks, namely; Maximizing Client Retention and Value, Driving Growth and Profitability, Honing your Leadership Skills, and Improving Visibility.
4. Diversity: Contributions from event partners the AALL, ALA, LFMP, LSSO and ILTA enhance diversity, as do in-depth pre-conference sessions for distinct audiences including, attorneys, seasoned professionals and newcomers to the field.
5. Back by popular demand: CMO roundtable discussions that are designed for firms’ most senior in-house staffers overseeing marketing and business development functions.
6. Authoritative speakers: The speaker faculty is predominantly comprised of senior-level in-house legal marketers, who will be sharing their best practices and lessons learned.
7. Stellar keynote presentation: The power you need to propel your organization forward is waiting at Disney Institute throughDisney’s Approach to Business Excellence. You will learn the five most powerful lessons in business; lessons carefully developed by the Disney organization in its never-ending pursuit of excellence.
8. Top-shelf networking: It’s a prime opportunity for you to meet with and learn from more than 1,000 experts and leaders in the industry. The LMA Annual Conference has always been about building our professional community as we learn, and 2011 will be no different. During the three-day event, you will have ample opportunity to re-connect with industry colleagues and build your network of LMA contacts.
9. Demonstrations from top service providers: The conference exhibit hall gives you the opportunity to review technologies, services and products from 2011 sponsors and exhibitors, and meet face-to-face with industry service providers.
10. Innovation unveiled: Celebrate contributions from pioneers in the field and fresh ideas from some of the most creative minds in legal marketing during the Hall of Fame and Your Honor Awards presentations.
How can marketers ethically use the Personally Identifiable Information they collect from consumers? Privacy policies and data collection will be at the forefront of regulatory efforts this year. Start improving your marketing integrity with 10 simple steps. This article has been contributed by Expert Speaker, Kyle-Beth Hilfer. You can find more more articles from Kyle-Beth by visiting her blog . Kyle-Beth is a Advertising/Marketing Law Specialist and Arbitrator at Kyle-Beth Hilfer, P.C.
Privacy Policies and Data Collection: Top 10 Steps to Take in 2011
2011 will test the boundaries of personal privacy in marketing. Consumers share their personally identifiable information (PII) on social media networks with little understanding that marketers silently track their preferences, their dislikes, and their PII. In many instances, marketers store the information and even resell it to third parties. The conflict between marketers’ targeted use of personally identifiable information (PII) and respect for consumers’ personal privacy will be at the forefront of regulatory efforts this year.
At the end of 2010, the FTC released its preliminary staff report entitled “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change”. The report acknowledged that consumers want innovative new products and services that often rely on their PII. At the same time, the report cautioned that there is a need to balance technological advances in marketing with consumers’ desire for privacy. The report endorsed a “Do Not Track” mechanism that would allow consumers to opt out of marketers’ invisible tracking of PII. The FTC also announced that it will be monitoring the marketplace carefully and taking enforcement action against companies that violate consumer privacy or use PII indiscriminately. The FTC is accepting public comments until January 31, 2011 on its report.
At the same time, the advertising industry announced its self-regulatory program for online behavioral advertising. At www.aboutads.info, the nation’s largest media and marketing associations provide detailed information to consumers about behavioral advertising and how to opt out of targeted marketing techniques. In addition, the website announces an industry wide initiative to use an “advertising option icon” on websites. The icon launched on Jan 1, 2011. When a consumer sees the icon displayed on a website, he will know that the website owner is using best practices in behavioral advertising to protect privacy. The icon also indicates that the consumer can exercise choice about the tracking of his data at website he is visiting.
If you are doing any marketing on social media in 2011, it is likely that you will want to keep a close eye on legislative developments in the area of privacy. It is likely that Congress will jump into this conversation. The following principles should guide your company’s data collection practices in the coming year:
1- Privacy Policies: Do you have one? If you do not, now is the time to engage legal assistance to help you draft a policy. If you already have a policy, you will want to ensure that its language is comprehensible to the average consumer.
3- PII: There is an increasingly blurred distinction between PII and non-PII data. Technology has advanced to the point where even non-PII data can be used to identify individuals, and even when PII has been rendered anonymous, the technology exists to reconstruct the person’s identity. It is advisable to start protecting all data, whether PII or non-PII.
4- Data Collection: What is your data collection policy in social media? What are you asking consumers to share? Think carefully about whether you need all the data you are requesting. Once you have collected the personal data, consider what you are doing with it. How long are you storing the data? Are you safeguarding its privacy? Are you sharing the data with any third parties? If so, is it encrypted and are you sharing only what is absolutely necessary?
5- Transparency: Have you shared details of your data practices with consumers? Are you honoring consumer’s choices? If the data was transferred to you from a third party who did the collection, are you disclosing how you are using consumers’ information once they arrive at your site?
6- Medium Driven Concerns: are you collecting data through mobile devices? If so, how will you make your disclosures? At a minimum, provide a link to your website, but that may not be sufficient. Think about follow up texts, assuming the consumer has consented to receive them, that explains why you are directing them to your privacy page. Are you co-marketing with another party? Have you coordinated your data collection policies and privacy disclosures?
7- Sensitive areas: Certain areas require special handling. Any kind of data regarding children, health and medical status, or sexual preference needs extra security. Consider whether you really need this information. If you are retaining such data, create multiple layers of protection. If dealing with children, be sure you are COPPA compliant.
9- Security Breach Policies: Have a policy in place for handling security breaches. The policy should outline circumstances for internal notification and notification of third party affiliates, vendors, and users of the secure data. It should require internal tracking of company responses to the security breach and investigative procedures. The policy should also outline how to handle media inquiries. Furthermore, be mindful that some state laws may require notification of consumers, credit bureaus, and state regulators. Even if state law is silent, consider whether it is prudent from both a legal and public relations standpoint to notify local authorities and work with them to contain the breach.
10- Opt-out Mechanism: With “Do Not Track” lurking in the not so distant future, it would be wise to consider implementing a “do not track” option of your own and publicizing it on your social media platforms.© Kyle-Beth Hilfer, P.C. 2011. Kyle-Beth Hilfer, Esq. specializes in advertising, marketing, promotions, intellectual property and new media law. For more information about her law practice, please visit www.kbhilferlaw.com.