CHICAGO, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- As financial institutions and other creditors prepare for the Federal Trade Commission's Red Flags Regulations, requiring, among other things, the implementation of an identity theft prevention program, TransUnion has enhanced its identity verification and authentication tools in its Revenue Manager solution to assist hospitals in complying with these guidelines.
The Red Flags Regulations, issued in October 2007 as the "final rule" to the FACT Act, Section 114, defines a "Red Flag" as a pattern, practice or activity that indicates the possible risk of identity theft. The regulations include 26 illustrative examples of Red Flags associated with potential identity theft. Examples include:
-- A consumer reporting agency provides notice of a credit freeze in response to a request for a consumer report
-- A consumer reporting agency provides a notice of address discrepancy
-- Personal information provided is inconsistent when compared against external information sources used by financial institution or creditor
"Identity theft is a serious issue, especially when it concerns the healthcare industry because such crimes not only have financial implications, but they can potentially cause safety concerns for patients," said Rod Bazzani, executive vice president of healthcare for TransUnion. "While TransUnion Revenue Manager already can assist hospitals with many aspects of the regulations, we have further enhanced our solution to alert our customers of these red flags even more prominently."
Identity theft has already had a great impact on the healthcare industry. According to the FTC, an estimated three percent of identity theft victims had their personal information used to obtain medical services by another person - impacting approximately 250,000 U.S. patients in 2005 and translating to $468 million in medical identity crimes per year.
To illustrate the gravity of the situation, TransUnion looked at high risk fraud alert files for one of its Revenue Manager customers located in a suburb of a large Midwestern city. In the first nine months of 2008, 391 fraud alert matches were discovered at the hospital. The transgressions ranged from a "Social Security number not being issued by the Social Security Administration" to an "address reported being used in true name fraud or credit fraud" situation.
"The need for identity theft solutions is obvious when hospitals - not just large metro hospitals, but also smaller suburban facilities - are faced with medical fraud situations almost on a daily basis," added Bazzani.
The effective date for the Red Flags Regulations was November 1, 2008; however, the Federal Trade Commission, one of the agencies charged with enforcement has recently announced that it will delay its enforcement efforts until May 1, 2009 to allow financial institutions and creditors more time to develop identity theft prevention programs. More information on the Red Flags Regulations may be found in a TransUnion white paper entitled, "Red Flag Regulations: Exploring the Impact of New Identity Theft Prevention Regulations for Healthcare Providers" at the following Web site: transunionhealthcare.com.
As a global leader in credit and information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion employs more than 3,600 employees in more than 25 countries on five continents. http://www.transunion.com/healthcare
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