Medical Identity Theft and Bill Requiring Criminal Background Checks In LTC Facilities

I have had relatives very close to me who, because of degenerative diseases and medical problems, have had to go to long term care (LTC) facilities. I always worried about the care they were receiving when I was not around. I worried that others would not be caring for them in a truly caring and kind way. I worried that people who had been convicted of violent crimes and financial fraud might try to take advantage of them and the others in the facility. I tried to keep a close watch on them.

Historically the need for workers within these facilities have led to lax hiring practices. As a result many residents have been abused, physically and mentally, and their financial health has also been abused through criminal use of their personally identifiable information (PII).
For example, there is the disgusting instance of a Seattle hospital worker in a leukemia treatment facility who took advantage of his position of trust to steal money from at least one patient in his care who he believed to be a terminally ill.
This type of situation has likely occurred other times; possibly many other times.
The insider threat is hard to address, and their criminal actions in such a setting even harder to detect.
On June 7 Senator Herb Kohl. introduced the U.S. federal bill S. 1577 the “Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007.”
If signed into law this would require long-term nursing facilities and providers to perform criminal background checks on job applicants who would have direct access to patients. Those with a “disqualifying” criminal history would have to be turned down.
The term “disqualifying information” means “information about a conviction for a relevant crime or a finding of substantiated patient or resident abuse.”
It would be good if this would go further and include a criminal history of misuse of personally identifiable information (PII).
There have been many accounts of medical identity theft. I have blogged about it several times, including here and here.
The World Privacy Forum has a page dedicated to this type of crime.
The American Chronicle did a story earlier this month on the topic.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply