New Privacy Risk: Patients Who Assume Someone Else's Identity to Obtain Treatment

Reprinted from REPORT ON PATIENT PRIVACY, the industry’s most practical source of news on HIPAA patient privacy provisions.

A new gray cloud has arrived on the privacy officer’s skyline and it promises to be as vexing as figuring out the privacy rule was back in 2002: patients who assume the identity of another person in order to receive medical care.

Nationally, estimates are that close to a quarter million people are victims of medical identity fraud each year. From figuring out who the victim is, to ensuring you don’t violate the privacy rule in the process, to correcting the medical record when all the information didn’t originate with you, to referring the case to authorities, to making good on money you might have not been entitled to, medical identify theft can be a privacy officer’s nightmare.

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