Medical/Healthcare Privacy and Fraud Outlook for 2010

Eduard F. Goodman, J.D., LL.M., CIPP writes:

You may not be aware of this, but medical-related fraud and identity theft are growing problems in America. With the exploding cost of healthcare, increasing bureaucratic administrative healthcare systems, and a large, aging Baby Boomer population requiring increased medical care, it would seem that we are entering into a kind of “perfect storm” for medical fraud.

As a new year opens, we can look back at how changes made in 2009 will have ripple effects well into 2010, and how these changes act as a double-edged sword.

YEAR IN REVIEW

The year 2009 was another grim year for medical privacy and data breaches that released the personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) of millions of Americans. With a number of large data breaches and exposures occurring at major pharmacy retailers, hospitals, health insurance providers and managed care programs, the last year of the decade was especially busy. While these incidents often were the result of the improper disposal or lack of destruction of physical documents and paper files, a growing number of incidents surrounded the loss or theft of laptop computers and storage devices. Some medical data exposures were even the result of hacking into improperly secured networks. Overall, medical industry data breaches affected nearly 3 million confirmed individuals throughout the U.S. in 2009 alone.

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