How Your ASC Can Avoid a Catfish

Avoid a catfish

The term catfishing is normally associated with online chat channels. It involves people assuming fake identities to gain the trust of others and then using those identities to elicit everything from favors to large sums of money from their victims. You may not know, however, that this practice has also become common in the healthcare industry, where it’s estimated that medical identity theft costs more than $30 billion every year.

Medical identity theft cases often involve the use of fraudulent or shared insurance cards, or fake ID documents during the registration process. Not only can this cost your ASC money in the form of denied claims, but it can also result in life-threatening medical errors.

The average case of medical identity theft costs around $13,500 to resolve

What You Can Do About It

Knowing that this is common practice in the healthcare industry, it’s important to know what you can do to avoid a catfish. These are our best recommendations. 

Educate Your Patients

Patients should be educated about the alarming extent and dangers of medical identity theft. Encourage them to always store their medical documentation, insurance cards, and identity documents in a safe place and to only share sensitive medical details when it’s absolutely necessary and the other party can be 100% trusted.

 

Some ASCs provide brochures on the matter, while others post signs, suggestions, and tips on how to deal with it throughout their facilities.

Keep Patient Data Secure

This might require spending money on the latest and most secure health IT systems, but if you take into account the fact that the average case of medical identity theft costs around $13,500 to resolve, can severely harm your organization’s image, and potentially cause your ASC to shut down, it will be money well spent. Another excellent way to ensure the security of patient data is by using a UHSI, or Unique Health Safety Identifier.

Train Your Employees

Employees who work with patient information should be properly trained so they know how to pick up signs of medical identity theft. This should form part of training for all new staff members and existing staff members should be updated on the latest methods and technologies used by fraudsters on a regular basis.

Employees should also know the first warning signs that a patient might not be who he or she claims to be, like when they seem to be unfamiliar with past test results, medications prescribed, or diagnoses.

Responsibly Dispose of Patient Data 

The way your organization disposes of confidential patient information can create a golden opportunity for identity fraudsters to get hold of that data. That’s why unused or outdated billing information and medical data should be completely erased when no longer needed. Forms and other printed patient information should be shredded, not just dumped in a waste bin.

Have a Response Plan for Data Breaches

Even if your organization does its utmost to prevent data breaches, chances are that sooner or later such a breach could occur. When that happens, all healthcare organizations should have a response plan ready. If a patient’s personal information has been compromised, for example, they have the right to know about it so they can take appropriate action. A fraud alert should also be sent to other involved parties, including the patient and insurer, and steps should immediately be taken to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

Get Professional Healthcare RCM Services for Your ASC 

Medical identity theft can impact any healthcare organization, including ASCs, rural hospitals, and many other centers. Keep track of billing that comes and goes with help from a professional healthcare RCM company. We’ll handle all of your billing and collection requirements, so you can put your time and attention where it matters most. 

 

 Set up a consultation with our team today to get started. 

Ultimate Billing exists to reduce the business burden of healthcare, allowing our clients to focus on patient care.

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