[ Wednesday, March 16, 2011 ]
Medical Identity Theft:
I've been preaching about the risks of medical identity theft, as opposed to regular (financial) identity theft, for as long as I've been talking about the Red Flags Rule. If you're a physician, you may not be covered by the rule, but it's still a good idea to have an identity theft prevention program, just to protect yourself from having to correct records or refund a payor when they've paid you for the wrong patient. But there's an even greater reason -- medical identity theft can kill. Literally.
How common is it? More common than even I thought. According to a study
by the Ponemon Institute, 1.5 million Americans were victims last year. That's about .5% of the population, or one out of 200 of your patients. A large portion of the theft is among family members, which probably means that it's facilitated by the "victim" (who loans his/her insurance card to an uninsured relative). All the more reason for providers to be gatekeepers to prevent this from happening.
Jeff [10:09 AM]
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