Just FYI: IRS can help you out of hot water.
If your practice is worried about the possibility of having its Medicare and other insurance identities stolen, you can rest easier if you save these tips from Medicare experts.
Impact: According to Shantanu Agrawal, MD, a medical director with CMS, more than 3,600 physician and patient cases of medical identity theft were reported in 2009. Worse yet, that number is trending up, Agrawal said during the CMS training course, “Safeguarding Your Medical Identity.”
See also: Want to Trump Practice ID Thieves? Heed This Expert Advice
If you’re looking to shore up your ID theft protection, Agrawal offers these tips:
- Mind Your IRS Notices:When someone uses your identity, the IRS is tracking any income the person earns (under your/your practice’s name and identification). Eventually, the feds are likely to wonder why you aren’t paying taxes on the income. So if the IRS sends you any notifications, pay attention — the notice just might alert you to fraudulent activity that’s taking place with your Medicare number (or your practice’s).
- Keep Payers In Loop On Enrollment Changes:“Physicians can actively manage enrollment information with payers by updating them about material enrollment changes, especially when opening, closing or moving practice locations, or when separating from an organization,” Agrawal said. This is good practice because, for example, if a payer receives claims from an old or non-existent office location, they can let you know.
- When Patients Complain, Listen. If a patient says he’s getting medical items he never ordered, contact the payer, says Julie Taitsman, MD, chief medical officer at the Office of Inspector General (OIG), during the course. Someone might be ordering the items in the patient’s name and collecting the reimbursement using your practice’s provider number.