Help with HIPAA Compliance
Help with HIPAA Compliance
Helping you understand the complexities of compliance under the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rules. Our team of experts in regulatory compliance can answer any questions you may.
Colington Consulting

Medical Identity Theft: A Troubling Trend

Medical Identity Theft: A Troubling Trend

3/23/2014 11:32:38 AM   |   Comments: 0   |   Views: 1681

The Ponemon Institute, a nationally recognized privacy research firm, recently released its Fourth Annual Patient Privacy and Data Security Study.  For healthcare providers, it is probably not much of a new revelation that the study found more criminals are stealing patient records to commit medical identity theft.  This type of crime is a less-risk and highly profitable industry.

What is attention grabbing is that these criminal attacks on healthcare providers increased dramatically and are up 100% since 2010.  According to the study, these breaches cost the industry about $5.6 billion a year. 

If your medical or dental practice has electronic medical records (EMR) and is following all the proper HIPAA Security Rule safeguards, this can help to identity possible unauthorized access or fraud.  If your practice has paper charts, the unauthorized access to patient records could be virtually untraceable until an identity theft case occurs.  For EMR, training staff to be alert to fraud trends can help, along with a systematic way to continuously review audit logs to see who is accessing patient records. 

Here are three tips to help your practice be more proactive in fighting medical identity theft:

  1. Conduct background checks on ALL staff, regardless if access to patient records is required for their particular positions or not.

  2. Set up a robust education campaign to make patients aware of medical identity theft and teach them how to report any errors discovered on their Explanation of Benefits.

  3. Implement a response program for possible medical identity theft cases.  The program needs to have comprehensive but understandable written policies and procedures for immediate action for a flagged record. 

As the risk will only continue to grow, the reputation and credibility of your practice in addressing patient record breaches is at stake here.  Having a proactive plan in place will help your practice quickly recognize possible medical identity theft cases and initiate an immediate and required action.   

Author: Jay Hodes is the President of Colington Security Consulting LLC and the former Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.  In that position he supervised over 200 Special Agents and professional support staff responsible for health care fraud and medical identity theft investigations throughout the eastern United States.

His company provides assistance with HIPAA Security Rule compliance by identifying vulnerabilities and risks; determining the potential impact and providing a gap analysis action plan to prevent unauthorized access, tampering and theft. 

Please contact Jay with any questions you have at jhodes@colingtonsecurity.com.

More Like This

Total Blog Activity

769
Total Bloggers
7,943
Total Blog Posts
2,970
Total Podcasts
1,301
Total Videos

Sponsors

Townie Perks

Townie® Poll

Do you allow parents into the operatory?
  

Site Help

Sally Gross, Member Services
Phone: +1-480-445-9710
Email: sally@farranmedia.com

Follow Dentaltown

Mobile App

WITH DENTALTOWN . . . NO DENTIST WILL EVER HAVE TO PRACTICE SOLO AGAIN®

WWW.DENTALTOWN.COM - WHERE THE DENTAL COMMUNITY LIVES®

9633 S. 48th Street Suite 200 • Phoenix, AZ 85044 · Phone: +1-480-598-0001 · Fax: +1-480-598-3450
©1999-2019 Dentaltown, L.L.C., a division of Farran Media, L.L.C. · All Rights Reserved