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Wednesday, April 11, 2007


It’s like you’re in the jungle with predators on all sides trying to take you down. That’s what has happened in the identity crisis since the bad guys have discovered the value of sensitive data. Now they can have their surgical operation on you, and possibly kill you in the process. By stealing your medical information from a health care provider, the crook could go in for an appendectomy, and say you went to the emergency room soon thereafter and get the crook’s blood type. If that doesn’t do it, you receive a medication, compliments of the bad guy, to which you are highly allergic. And the possibilities go on and on. Incidents similar to this have happened, according to an MSNBC article, “More doctors, insurers asking, ‘Who are you?’” by NBC’s Anne Thompson. In fact, the World Privacy forum reports that the number of Americans who are victims of medical identity theft has tripled in just four years. You can check your state’s laws and how to get a copy of your medical records at the Georgetown University’s Center on Medical Rights and Privacy site, and I suggest you visit it soon to familiarize yourself with your rights. Unfortunately, HIPAA, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 only gets you in the front door of the problem. Even if you find an error, HIPAA doesn’t require them to remove incorrect information. The act also offers little help in disputes. The MSNBC piece also confirms my theory that organized crime is well infiltrated in the identity crisis, thus, proving the organizational level to which this issue has risen. I’ve said it many times in earlier posts: one of the largest depositories of personal data resides in the offices of doctors and hospitals throughout the country. And from what I’ve witnessed, the security level is far from adequate.

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