When Was the Last Time You Got Carded?

JOHN FOSTER, MD

YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD DOCTOR IS IN

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WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOT CARDED?
At Your Doctor’s Office

Identity theft is never healthy, however, in the healthcare business the reported instance of Medical Identity Theft and Fraud is escalating. In a recent article through the American Medical Association, doctors were reminded that medical identity theft has become the fastest-growing type of identity theft in the world. In a 2011 report published through Ponemon Institute’s Third Annual Survey on Medical Identity Theft estimates that 185 million Americans are affected by the crime.

That is, patients are using another’s personal information and insurance card to get treatment or to file fraudulent insurance claims. When this happens, weeks even months later the cardholder receives a bill or an explanation of benefits [EOB] alerting them to the fact that their medical identity has been stolen. In some cases, cardholders are being billed for unpaid medical services up to and including emergency room or surgery charges. Perhaps the most alarming is that the individual who has committed Medical Identify Theft may have gained access to any of the insured’s protected medical history.

Protecting Medical Information

Medical providers work diligently to protect patient medical information and to comply with all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPPA] regulations. Medical Identify Theft compromises both the card holder’s identify and their medical information. Medical providers who do not request picture identification and one other form of identification such as the insurance card may be delivering medical services to a seemingly delightful patient, only to later discover that the patient wasn’t who he or she claimed to be and this is an unacceptable practice resulting in many complications.

To safe guard patient’s personal medical history and to combat this fast growth type of identity theft most medical groups are being advised to ask for a valid driver’s license, suitable picture identification and one other form of identification to add to the patient’s medical chart. In fact, that is the number one strategy being recommended to doctors to help prevent identity theft and all the issues that go along with it.

Sunset Walk-In Healthcare Working to Secure Your Information

Having your picture identification or driver’s license on file at your medical provider’s office is considered personal health information (PHI) and thus covered by HIPAA. All records, insurance card and driver’s license are protected under HIPAA and kept secured in your medical record.

In order to protect all of our patients Sunset Walk-In Healthcare and Occupational Medicine will ask for picture identification. “We do card our patients” says Dr. Foster. This is to safeguard your medical information, avert the incidence of someone stealing your medical identity and committing fraudulent insurance activities on your dime.

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