The Integrity News
"objective risk management news"
Vol. XVI No. 1
January 9, 2007
January 8, 2007
Its big money. Guess who gets the bill.
Yet, a bigger problem is the potential
consequences of mixing the victim's
and the fraudster's medical records.
In the January 8, 2007 issue of Business Week, the
fraud alert article entitled "Diagnosis: Identity Theft"
describes how Medical Identity Theft is growing.
"Fraudsters impersonate unsuspecting individuals
to get costly medical care that they couldn't otherwise
afford." The money involved in the illicit medical
records business is huge.
This problem is not about stolen credit card numbers
and a few thousand dollars of bogus debt. This is about
medical bills that are orders of magnitude bigger, and
the potentially very serious medical consequences.
Companies need to ramp up their protection of patient
and employee medical information. Not only will the
theft of medical info cause financial harm to the
patient or employee who is the victim, but their work
productivity all but goes away (read that: distraction,
financial hardship, worry, time off work).
Then, when the employee thinks about the medical
harm that could be done above and beyond the debt,
they get beside themselves. They think about such
life-threatening consequences as having the fraudster's
medical information now mixed into their records. If
they need treatment, the records can reflect the wrong
blood type, the fraudster's allergies, or other serious
misrepresentations such as diabetes or cardiac problems.
Whereas stolen resume data is now only worth a few
cents, black market prices for health record data bring
$50 to $60 per file. There is so much money to be
stolen in these scams that organized crime is finding
it very profitable to recruit and plant "rogue employees"
in access positions. Big money can be made fraudulently
for information that will provide expensive medical
procedures. In some cases the criminals also follow up
the data theft with bogus clinics that turn in additional
millions in claims and then disappear within months.
The article points out that whereas the FCRA provides
remedies for errors in non-medical personal records,
"health privacy laws are limited and don't reflect the
possibility of Medical ID Theft." In one case, the victim
couldn't even see his own medical records because his
signature on his driver's license didn't match the one
that the fraudster used when getting the medical care.
In 2003, we published the issue of The Integrity News
The Darkest Side of Identity Theft. As we stated then,
having someone commit a felony in your name can make your life
a nightmare. But, having them foul up your medical
records could kill you.
If you would like to discuss the implications for your
operations of the issues raised in this news item, feel
free to call
The Integrity Center, Inc.
anytime at (972) 484-6140.
Helping you with your Risk Management and HR Automation is what we do.