California AG Releases Report on Curbing Medical Identity Theft
On Thursday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) released a report with recommendations on how to prevent, detect and reduce medical identity theft, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 10/21).
A recent Ponemon survey found that 1.8 million U.S. residents currently are affected by medical identity theft.
According to Ponemon, examples of such fraud include:
- An individual receiving medical care using another person's information; and
- Doctors writing fraudulent prescriptions.
Recommendations of AG's Report
In a release about the attorney general's report, Harris said, "As the Affordable Care Act encourages the move to electronic [health] records, the health care industry has an opportunity to improve public health and combat medical identity theft with forward-looking policies and the strategic use of technology" (Stewart, Techwire, 10/18).
In the 31-page report, Harris recommends that health care providers:
- Educate staff and patients about medical identity theft;
- Implement technology and policies to detect such fraud;
- Offer patients no-cost copies of portions of their health records to check for fraud; and
- Make prompt corrections or notations when signs of fraud are discovered.
The report recommends that insurers:
- Provide enrollees with an explanation of how to report errors in claims;
- Notify enrollees when medical identity theft is found or suspected;
- Use software to detect such fraud; and
- Immediately correct records when fraud is found to avoid a cap or termination of benefits.
In addition, the report recommends that health information organizations:
- Implement capabilities to prevent, detect, investigate and mitigate medical identity theft; and
- Adopt policies that consider the possibility of such fraud.
In the report, Harris also suggests that policymakers consider the report's recommendations when drafting standards for EHRs and health information exchange.
Specifically, she calls on the state Department of Health and Human Services to include a medical identity theft incident response plan in its certification requirements for health information exchanges or organizations and accountable care organizations (Health Data Management, 10/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.