By Joanne Kaldy

9:00 am. You pour your coffee and get online. There is a new review. You respond promptly, only to find out later that your reply violated HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules. Is this a nightmare that wakes you up at night? Or do think you know HIPAA and sleep soundly?

In reality, the answer is likely somewhere in between. This doesn’t have to be a nightmare. But there are some things you need to know about reviews and HIPAA that you probably don’t. Get the answers and sleep better with a new webinar on Online Reviews & HIPAA Compliance: What You Need to Know. The webinar is set for September 17 and sponsored by (a Senior Living Foresight partner).

Best Practices in Troubling Times

In this program, Mark Spencer, COO of Consumer Fusion, a reputation management company, will answer all of your questions about HIPAA and more. He’ll share best practices for senior living communities, in-home care and home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, and hospice organizations for staying HIPAA compliant while getting and responding to reviews efficiently and productively.

The pandemic has heightened the urgency to understand the relationship between HIPAA and reviews. Mark says, “More than ever, reputation management and reviews are important; and you need to make sure that you are HIPAA compliant in your responses.” He adds, “We are finding that, in light of the pandemic, we have many emotional situations where there is a huge influx of complaints, concerns, and negative comments.”

They Started It

Mark will share expert insights into issues such as how HIPAA applies to online reviews, and what is safe and not safe to say when responding to reviews – even if the consumer reveals private medical information.

“People are often intimidated because they don’t want to violate HIPAA. That said, there is a right way and a wrong way to respond to reviews. We’ll offer some examples of what you can and can’t say and what kind of wording you can use safely,” Mark says.

This topic is especially relevant for skilled nursing facilities. As Denise Graab, Director of Industry Marketing at, says, “Senior living communities providing health care services and skilled nursing facilities in particular need to keep HIPAA in mind in how they respond to some reviews.”

A Partner that Provides Support has an advertising option for services including review supports, such as review alerts, automated responses, reviews-by-phone, and reviews-by-postcard. is recognized as a leader in online consumer reviews for senior living and senior care and stands out for superior integrity standards.

“While there’s been some negative media coverage about skilled nursing during COVID-19, we’ve actually seen that this category overall has more positive than negative reviews,” says Denise. She adds, “It’s a myth that people only go online to post reviews to slander businesses. But when negative reviews do crop up and have reference to health conditions and protected medical information, senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities need to be careful.”

Become a Star

Another important reason to increase your confidence while responding to reviews is coming up on October 15. This is the deadline to apply to be among the Caring Stars for 2021, and every year communities get disqualified because they don’t respond to negative reviews. Denise says, “Caring Stars award recipients are those communities receiving a high volume of praise and taking the time to respond to any negative feedback. While a community doesn’t have to be a partner to be a Caring Star, partners who meet the rigorous criteria to earn the award have averaged twice as many inquiries and move-ins.”

When in doubt, says Mark, not responding to a review is not the answer. He will help webinar participants understand how to respond efficiently, promptly, and with “thought and education behind your response.” He offers, “About 90% of consumers read responses to reviews. If they see a response within 24 hours and it’s constructive and respectful, this gives them a positive impression.”

Register now for this timely webinar. Your confidence in responding to reviews and complying with HIPAA will be boosted immediately!