“The crime occurs when someone uses a person's name and sometimes other parts of their identity -- such as insurance information -- without the person's knowledge or consent to obtain medical services or goods,” said Laurinda B. Harman, PhD, RHIA, associate professor and chair of the health information management department at Temple University’s College of Health Professions.
“A person's identity information can also be used to make false claims for medical services or goods. This is not a common event, but patients need to be aware of it,” Harman said. She will discuss the growing concerns of medical identity theft as more medical facilities move to electronic records during the 79th Annual American Health Information Management Association Convention Exhibit on October 9 in Philadelphia.
The World Privacy Forum, a non profit, non partisan research group, said it has received 20,000 reports of medical identity theft in the past 15 years.
Medical identity theft frequently results in erroneous entries being put into existing medical records, and can involve the creation of fictitious medical records in the victim's name at various medical facilities. This trail of falsified information in medical records can plague victims' medical and financial lives for years.
In Pennsylvania, two men were convicted of health insurance fraud, theft by deception, identity theft and forgery in 2006. Galen Baker stole a coworker's identification to obtain nearly 40 individual prescriptions for Viagra, a drug typically prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction. Daniel Sullivan stole a man's medical identification to pay for more than $140,000 in hospital charges. In other cases, health care employees stole medical records to sell to third parties or file false claims.
The entire health care system needs to be careful in its hiring. Ethical principals need to be taught and enforced for all employees, Harman said.
“As more patients begin maintain their own personal health record, they will become more aware of the fraud,” she said.
Harman suggests the following tips from the World Privacy Forum to prevent theft, these include:
Review all “Explanation of Benefits” notices and any other correspondence from insurance providers describing the services that have been received, the provider charges and payment allowances. Report suspicious transactions to your health insurer's special investigations unit.
Request a complete list of annual payments your insurance company has made for medical care. Sometimes, thieves change billing address and phone number, which means a patient may not see all of the bills.Get a copy of medical records, in case they're tampered with in the future.
Harman, a health information management professional for over 35 years, said those in her field take the issue very seriously.
“We need to take the role as the patient advocate. We need to help them protect their patient information and privacy. There aren’t the same protections in place for medical identify theft as financial identify theft,” she said.
Renee Cree | EurekAlert!
Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
29.06.2017 | University of Iowa Health Care
Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders
28.06.2017 | University of California - Davis
Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.
Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
29.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.06.2017 | Life Sciences
29.06.2017 | Health and Medicine