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Integrating Privacy & Security Into Your Medical Practice

ONC Commissioned Medical Identity Theft Assessment

In May 2008, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) awarded an approximately $450,000 contract to Booz Allen Hamilton to assess and evaluate the scope of the medical identity theft problem in the U.S.

Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft is a specific type of identity theft which occurs when a person uses someone else's personal health identifiable information, such as insurance information, Social Security Number, health care file, or medical records, without the individual's knowledge or consent to obtain medical goods or services, or to submit false claims for medical services. There is limited information available about the scope, depth, and breadth of medical identity theft.

ONC has noted that medical identity theft stories are being documented at an increasing rate, bringing to light serious financial, fraud, and patient care issues. ONC recognizes that health IT is an important tool to combat the threat of medical identity theft. We are seeking input from the public and other government agencies to better understand how health IT can be utilized to prevent and detect medical identity theft as well as build consumer trust in electronic health information exchange. ONC believes it is imperative to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of this issue from a variety of perspectives, and to create an open forum for dialogue to work proactively to address medical identity theft.

An Assessment in Three Phases

Three specific deliverables corresponding with each of the three phases resulted from the assessment.

  1. A comprehensive Environmental Scan Report [PDF - 1.2 MB] of the medical identity theft problem in the U.S particularly focusing on the intersection of Health IT was completed October 15, 2008 and released at the ONC Medical Identity Theft Town Hall meeting. A literature review and documentary research effort and related interviews were conducted to explore the scope and trends of medical identity theft. This report:
    • Identified a comprehensive list of stakeholders who are affected by medical identity theft and summarized their activities;
    • Identified issues of medical identity theft, quantified their impact on the health care industry, and identified gaps where there are no reliable measures; and
    • Provided a baseline for developing recommendations for the prevention, detection, and remediation of medical identity theft.
  2. A one-day Town Hall meeting was held, October 15, 2008, in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on Medical Identity Theft. The written transcript and audio file from the event are available as a written transcript [DOC - 390 KB] and an audio file [MP3 - 200MB].

    The Town Hall enabled health care experts to share knowledge and experience of medical identity theft and how health IT can be utilized to prevent and detect medical identity theft.

    ONC Medical Identity Theft Town Hall Speakers and Topics:

    Welcoming Remarks by Robert Kolodner, MD, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

    Opening Remarks by Jodi Daniel, JD, MPH, Director, Office of Policy and Research, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

    1. Panel 1: Understanding the Scope of the Problem

      Moderator: Jodi Daniel

      Panel:
      • Department of Justice, Kirk Ogrosky
      • Federal Trade Commission, Betsy Broder
      • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Lisa Gallagher
      • Identity Theft Resource Center, Linda Foley
      • Massachusetts General Hospital, Shanda Brown
      • Victim of Medical Identity Theft, Nicole Robinson
      • World Privacy Forum, Pam Dixon
    2. Panel 2: Laws, Policies, and Procedures

      Moderator: Jodi Daniel

      Panel:
      • American Health Information Management Association, Harry Rhodes
      • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Stephanie Kaisler
      • HHS Office of Inspector General, Gary Cantrell
      • Hogan & Hartson LLP, Marcy Wilder
      • Massachusetts General Hospital, Shanda Brown
      • Social Security Administration, Jonathan Cantor
    3. Panel 3: The Role of Health Information Technology (HIT)

      Moderator: John Loonsk, MD, Director, Office of Interoperability and Standards, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

      Panel:
      • American Health Information Management Association, Harry Rhodes
      • BlueCross BlueShield Association, Calvin Sneed
      • CareSpark, Liesa Jenkins
      • Good Health Network, Lory Wood
      • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Lisa Gallagher
      • Indiana Health Information Exchange, Debbie Banik
    4. Panel 4: The Path Forward

      Moderators: Morris Landau, JD, MHA, LLM, Policy Analyst, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Denise Tauriello, Senior Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton

      Panel:
      • American Health Information Management Association, Harry Rhodes
      • CareSpark, Liesa Jenkins
      • Federal Trade Commission, Betsy Broder
      • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Lisa Gallagher
      • Massachusetts General Hospital, Shanda Brown
      • World Privacy Forum, Pam Dixon
  3. A Medical Identity Theft final report [PDF - 380 KB] summarizing health IT and medical identity theft issues raised at the town hall was completed January 15, 2009 and sets forth potential actions the Federal government and other stakeholders can undertake in working toward prevention, detection, and remediation of medical identify theft.

Last updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013