Protect Your Health Care Employees from ID Theft
Believe it or not, but medical identity theft is the most rampant type of identity theft in the world. There are two types of possible thefts in this field: one that involves the theft of a patient’s identity and the other involving the loss of a physician’s identity. According to ‘Third Annual National Study on Medical Identity Theft’ conducted by the Ponemon Institute®, medical identity theft affects almost two million Americans each year, costing a total of approximately $41 billion.
What usually gets stolen are a physician’s Tax Identification Number, National Provider Identifier, and national licensure information. According to an article in the American Medical Association’s Journal, a physician’s information can be used to refer patients for expensive health care services like laboratory analysis or special equipment. The thief can then produce a bill for all the services. Some people even go to the extent of creating bills showing services rendered by the physician. A study done in Los Angeles showed “nearly $52 million in billing through 49 false store-front operations, using compromised identifiers from physicians in 18 states.”
The current data available on medical identity theft only reinforces the need for background checks in the medical industry, as mentioned in our previous blog. ‘Charity begins at home’, and background checks must start from current employees and should not be restricted to new recruitments alone. Use an expert to conduct these periodic checks, talk to references and set up an efficient system for keeping track of all employees. Doing your homework will ensure a safe environment for employees and patients, equally.