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Mitigating Medical Identity Theft: AHIMA Journal Provides Patient Tools to Secure Health Information
Date:7/8/2008

Healthcare consumers have role to play in preventing, recovering from

health information theft

CHICAGO, July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthcare consumers can take several steps to prevent the theft of their medical identity and follow a "checklist" of recovery steps even if they are victimized by medical identity theft, according to a new practice brief, "Mitigating Medical Identity Theft," published in the July issue of the Journal of AHIMA.

According to the brief, there are at least nine measures consumers can take to prevent and detect the theft of their medical identity, from "sharing personal and health insurance information only with trusted providers," to "questioning 'free' medical services or treatments" where it's unclear what services are being offered and who is paying for them. The practice brief also includes the AHIMA recommendation that patients obtain and maintain "personal health records that include copies of significant health information from each health care provider."

If medical identity theft takes place, the brief recommends other steps. Patients should contact the health information manager or privacy officer at the provider organization or antifraud hotline at the health plan where the theft appears to have occurred. The AHIMA brief's "Medical Identity Theft Response Checklist for Consumers" contains 18 steps consumers can take to help fight medical identity theft. This list also will be available on http://myPHR.com, the Association's Web site for consumer health information.

"Patients have to be aware of how their information is being used," said Chrisann Lemery, Compliance Specialist for WEA Trust Insurance in Wisconsin and one of 18 credentialed health information management professionals who worked on the AHIMA brief. "As a privacy officer I know it can take years to recover from a theft incident. And when someone receives medical trea
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SOURCE American Health Information Management Association
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