Kenyon HomeCare ConsultingHow to Prevent Homecare and Hospice Medical Identity Theft - Kenyon HomeCare Consulting (206) 721-5091

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How to Prevent Homecare and Hospice Medical Identity Theft

ID Theft

Our guest writer this week is Linda Vincent, R.N., P.I., who is not only a colleague of mine, but an identity theft and healthcare fraud prevention expert specializing in medical consulting and investigations.

As more and more baby boomers reach their golden years, more and more of them need the services of homecare and hospice agencies. This rapid influx is good for the industry, but homecare and hospice agencies need to be as vigilant as ever in their hiring practices of caregivers.

Why? Because medical identity theft is on the rise, and homecare and hospice agencies are easy targets. You need to take immediate action to safeguard your agency, reputation, and clients from the growing threat of medical identity theft.

Medical identity theft is an insidious crime in which an identity thief uses someone else’s identity to gain access to medical services, treatment, or equipment. Since elderly homecare and hospice patients are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of medical identity theft, your agency must take extra precautions. This includes stringent hiring protocols and foolproof IT policies and procedures.

Most homecare and hospice agencies consult with experts to ensure their entire operation is protected from medical identity theft. Through a comprehensive review of the organization, medical identity theft experts ensure that homecare and hospice agencies:

  • Perform thorough background checks on all employees: Employees are the first line of defense to prevent medical identity theft, so it’s critical that homecare and hospice agencies put employees through a rigorous screening process. A medical identity theft expert assists with criminal background checks, speaking with references, and setting up a system for maintaining extensive employee records.
  • Create medical identity theft policies and procedures: Professional homecare and hospice agencies need to have a strict set of policies and procedures in place to safeguard protected health information (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • Ensure patient records are secure: Homecare and hospice agencies should have a secure IT network that only allows authorized users to access sensitive patient information. A medical identity thief can run rampant and ruin lives with the push of a button unless safeguards are built into the system. Complex passwords should be implemented only for those employees who need access to patient records.
  • Make sure both the doctors and patients are “real”: Many medical identity thieves prey on the system by actually impersonating doctors and patients for monetary gain. This includes pretending to be a doctor to prescribe medication for the thief and/or his cohorts, as well as using another person’s insurance card to obtain medical services. Do your homework to ensure that physicians have professional references and admitting privileges to medical facilities.

Linda VincentIdentity Advocate lead consultant Linda Vincent, R.N., P.I., is an identity theft, medical ID theft, and healthcare fraud prevention expert, has over 35 years of experience. As a registered nurse, private investigator, and healthcare consultant, Ms. Vincent is passionate about helping individuals and businesses prevent theft and fraud. Her experience includes hospital and physician audits, managed care consulting, and healthcare fraud education, training, investigations, negotiations, and case review.

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Category: Accreditation & Licensing, Specialized Support, Staffing

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