Medical Identity Theft Townhall

Government Health IT reports today on yesterday’s HHS-sponsored medical ID theft town hall meeting:

Emboldened by the lure of easy money, medical identity thieves have adopted sophisticated ruses, said Gary Cantrell, director of computer forensics investigations in the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General.

One scam involves collecting information about health care providers from sources such as the National Provider Identifier registry. Thieves use the data to bill for services never delivered at health care facilities that never existed. In recent years, investigators have recovered several billion dollars in restitution.

That amount is “probably the tip of the iceberg,” Cantrell said.

According to HHS, a “report and roadmap summarizing health IT and medical identity theft issues raised at the town hall will be released in Winter 2008 – 2009 and will set forth possible next steps for the Federal government and other stakeholders in order to work toward prevention, detection, and remediation of medical identify theft.”