A HIPAA message - patient identity theft alert

September 21, 2004

HIPAA, the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," provides federal protection of patient health information. This HIPAA-related message is part of UNMC's continued effort to educate employees. Today's HIPAA message addresses patient identity theft.

Question: What should I do if I suspect a patient is seeking care using someone else's identity?

Answer: If you suspect that a patient may be using another person's name, social security number, third party payer information or other personal information, you should immediately report the information to The Nebraska Medical Center Risk Management Department (559-6466).

Unusual changes in a patient's age, height, weight, blood type or other health information from visit to visit may indicate identity theft. It is imperative that suspected identity theft be reported for safe patient care and accurate billing. This is not only a safety issue for the patient, but may also be a financial crime when fraudulent insurance information is used.

For further information refer to The Nebraska Medical Center policy FN.20: Patient Suspected Identity Theft Response.

If you're a manager, please ensure all of your employees are informed of the contents of these messages and how it applies to your work area. Some ways of sharing the information include discussions during staff meetings, printing and posting this message or asking your employees if they have any further questions.