California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently published guidelines on preventing and remedying medical identity theft, including best practice recommendations for the health care industry and tips for consumers (h/t PHIprivacy.net).

The guidelines are part of a report entitled Medical Identity Theft: Recommendations for the Age of Electronic Medical Records [PDF].

Key recommendations for health care 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.


Key recommendations for insurers include making Explanation of Benefits statements patient-friendly, including information on how to report any errors discovered, and using automated fraud detection software to flag suspicious claims that could be the result of identity theft.

"Medical identity theft has been called the privacy crime that can kill," Harris said in a statement. "As the Affordable Care Act encourages the move to electronic medical records, the health care industry has an opportunity to improve public health and combat medical identity theft with forward-looking policies and the strategic use of technology."

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