Are Your Patient’s Stealing Someone’s Identity?

With ObamaCare around the corner, doctor’s offices are  likely to have many new patients and expanding offices.   In this ever changing environment, it is easier for some patients to take someone’s identity.

“Medical identity theft is a growing problem, but many of the victims know the thief and do not want to report him or her, says a survey….

The number of victims affected by medical identity theft increased by an estimated 19 percent over the past year, to 313,000 new victims, and generated more than an estimated $12.3 billion in out-of-pocket expenses in 2013, according to the 2013 Survey on Medical Theft, which also reflected data from government agencies….

For purposes of the study, medical theft occurs when someone uses an individual’s name and personal identity to fraudulently receive medical services, goods and/or prescription drugs, including efforts to commit fraudulent billing.

According to the survey of 788 adults who self-reported that they or close family members were victims of medical identity theft, the crime happened 30 percent of the time because the victims knowingly shared their personal identification or medical credential with someone they knew, and 28 percent of the time because a family member took their personal identification or medical credentials without consent.

The survey found that 50 percent of the respondents were unaware that medical identity theft can create inaccuracies in their permanent medical records.”

Crain’s Detroit Business, September 12, 2013

It’s difficult to keep track of every patient.  As medical offices grow and have a variety of offices, it is more difficult to know your patients.  Your front office staff should always take the identification card of the patient along with the insurance.  What if the identification card does not have a picture?  Does your office ask for further identification?  This becomes more complex when the office is merely running a test for the patient or taking X-rays.

Training of your staff members is imperative.  It’s always busy at the front desk and patients are in a hurry.  It’s important to explain to the patients that this is for their own protection.  Identity theft is a huge problem and taking a little extra time to verify the patients identity is well worth it.

Share Your Ideas and tell us how your office protects against patient identity theft.  We’d love to hear from you.

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