New guidelines help combat identity theft


New guidelines on preventing and remedying medical identity theft released by the Office of the Attorney General in California offer best practice recommendations for the healthcare industry and tips for consumers. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) contributed to the development of the guidelines, Medical Identity Theft: Recommendations for the Age of Electronic Medical Records.

Key recommendations for healthcare providers include implementing an identity theft response program with clear written policies and procedures for investigating a flagged record; and offering patients who believe they may be victims of medical identity theft a free copy of the relevant portions of their medical records to review for signs of fraud.

“Medical identity theft has been called the privacy crime that can kill,” said California attorney general Kamala Harris. “As the Affordable Care Act encourages the move to electronic medical records, the healthcare industry has an opportunity to improve public health and combat medical identity theft with forward-looking policies and the strategic use of technology.”

The report for the industry focuses on the effect of identity theft on the accuracy of medical records.

“Health information management (HIM) professionals play a key role in safeguarding health information, and helping address issues when questions of identity theft occur,” said AHIMA

CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon. “AHIMA is proud to have contributed to this important guide to engage the entire industry and to help consumers learn what they should watch for and how to deal with concerns about the protection and accuracy of their health information.” 

American Health Information Management Association, AHIMA, Medical Identity Theft