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Old 08-22-2011, 03:43 PM   #41
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You mean security concerns like this?

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Until recently, medical files belonging to nearly 300,000 Californians sat unsecured on the Internet for the entire world to see.

There were insurance forms, Social Security numbers and doctors' notes. Among the files were summaries that spelled out, in painstaking detail, a trucker's crushed fingers, a maintenance worker's broken ribs and one man's bout with sexual dysfunction.

At a time of mounting computer hacking threats, the incident offers an alarming glimpse at privacy risks as the nation moves steadily into an era in which every American's sensitive medical information will be digitized.
News from The Associated Press
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:36 PM   #42
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You mean security concerns like this?



News from The Associated Press
Heh. A collection agency. I think we all know how very concerned they are with privacy. (One of my retirement hobbies. I collect autographs from agency owners. On checks. Some deadbeat put my phone number on a form, and I get all his calls. I follow the law and document everything, they don't. Hilarity ensues...)

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Southern California Medical-Legal Consultants, which represents doctors and hospitals seeking payment from patients receiving workers' compensation, put the records on a website that it believed only employees could use, owner Joel Hecht says.
The personal data was discovered by Aaron Titus, a researcher with Identity Finder who then alerted Hecht's firm and The Associated Press. He found it through Internet searches, a common tactic for finding private information posted on unsecured sites.
The data were "available to anyone in the world with half a brain and access to Google," Titus says.
Titus says Hecht's company failed to use two basic techniques that could have protected the data - requiring a password and instructing search engines not to index the pages. He called the breach "likely a case of felony stupidity."
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:30 PM   #43
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I'm switching doctors, and transferring the records has taken almost two weeks. The two offices are about 3 miles apart. An outsourced company comes from three hours away, copies the records, then goes back and snail-mails them from their office. A week since mailing, and they still haven't arrived.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:12 PM   #44
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It seems to be a common practice for doctors to ask for social security number and driver's license number on their new patient forms. What I don't get is why people feel the obligation to provide that information without a care in the world if it's really needed and how the information will be stored and safeguarded.
When I recently switched doctors I got into this with them BIG TIME. They stated that they would not take me as a patient without SSN and copy of DL. I didn't think that was legal, so I pushed back, talking with several administrators. Got the same answer. Went to SS and got this answer. No one can require you to give them your SSN without a government need for it. However, they CAN deny you service if you refuse. So, basically, you are screwed. I threatened my new doc(s') business if they misused or otherwise let my SSN info out. They nodded and took my number. First piece of paper I received from them (a form to hand to the doc for my first exam) had the SSN right there on the form. $%&82#$&^%^%$ SOBs. I scratched out the number and continue to do so each time, but sheeeshh! My doc (nurse) doesn't need to see my SSN (they don't ever comment on my mark out). And if the billing dept. does happen to need it, they have it in their computer. Why do they put it on every piece of paper about me that they print? That's a standing invitation for ID theft. Think of all the folks who roam through a doc's office who could take a videophone pic of your document as it sits in the "in box" at the nurse's counter.

So every piece of paper my doc has about me has the two items needed for ID theft. SS and DOB. Really smart. 11 years of med school and residency to come up with THAT for a system. Yeah, I know, the doc's didn't do it, some computer geek did. But still, you would think the docs would want to protect themselves from such a likely source of liability (forget medical malpractice - how about ID theft?)

End of rant - for now.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:40 PM   #45
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No one can require you to give them your SSN without a government need for it. However, they CAN deny you service if you refuse.
Typical meaningless rule. I guess "cannot require" means they can't point a gun at you.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:52 PM   #46
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I suspect they are merely using SSN to uniquely identify patients. Unless there's a government need, and provided it is not for fraudulent purposes, AFAIK it is legal to tell them an invented SSN.
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:25 PM   #47
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AFAIK it is legal to tell them an invented SSN.
Interesting idea. They require a SSN but not the correct SSN. Of course unless you have a fake one that you've used from the beginning, you are probably going to run into trouble.

I have a fake birthdate that I use to avoid identity theft.

Using 123-45-6789 is probably not a good idea.
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:00 PM   #48
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ya, because another patient has already claimed it..

My medicare # is my ssn so it is out there with my insurance # and gosh knows what else.

Today the office of every physician I see makes a copy of my ID (driver's licence), health insurance card and medicare card. I think this may be the way health care providers prevent the uninsured from assuming the identity of someone with insurance and to prevent mixing health care records where two people are using the same identity with the same health care provider.

About 10 years ago a physician submitted a bill to Medicare for my mother who was in a nursing home in Portland. The physician is in Honolulu, where Mother lived for many years. I knew that there was another woman in our community with my mother's name and Honolulu is a popular place for retirees from Portland. I called Medicare and told them that I suspect that my mother and another lady with the same name used the same physician, the billing office mixed them up. A few weeks later medicare called me back, told me that my guess was correct, and thanked me on behalf of Medicare and the physician's office.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:57 AM   #49
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My medicare # is my ssn so it is out there with my insurance # and gosh knows what else.
Yep. Everyone concerned about giving your SS# to medical providers needs to come to grips with this inevitability. "Resistance is futile"...
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:17 PM   #50
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Yep. Everyone concerned about giving your SS# to medical providers needs to come to grips with this inevitability. "Resistance is futile"...
Yup, just got my card (not good for a few more weeks yet). SSN right there, big as life. The SOBs even had the gall to suggest I not carry it with me - except when I would be visiting my doc (ID theft and all). Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I always suspect there is some finite chance that leaving my house to enter Honolulu traffic gives me a half decent chance of needing to see a doc that day - and I may not be in any shape to go home and get my card. What's a guy to do??
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:24 PM   #51
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Yup, just got my card (not good for a few more weeks yet). SSN right there, big as life. The SOBs even had the gall to suggest I not carry it with me - except when I would be visiting my doc (ID theft and all).
You might cut it out of the card, or overprint it with a sticker. If anyone asks why, it's to help protect against ID theft.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:27 PM   #52
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You might cut it out of the card, or overprint it with a sticker. If anyone asks why, it's to help protect against ID theft.
Doing so would render it useless for medical care. I'll take the ID theft risk.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:42 PM   #53
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Doing so would render it useless for medical care. I'll take the ID theft risk.
Is that an SSA/Medicare rule? If so, do you have a link/reference? I'd be surprised since all that's missing is the SSN, which the patient can recite if necessary.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:54 PM   #54
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Is that an SSA/Medicare rule? If so, do you have a link/reference? I'd be surprised since all that's missing is the SSN, which the patient can recite if necessary.
I doubt that it is a Medicare rule, but it could be. With all the concern about fraudulent use of Medicare services, I doubt doctors offices or hospitals would readily accept a Medicare card that had been tampered with.

The solution is for Medicare to stop using SS#'s as your insurance ID. Congress has talked about a bill to mandate the change, but has been too busy lining their pockets to actually pass meaningful legislation.
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:15 AM   #55
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With all the concern about fraudulent use of Medicare services, I doubt doctors offices or hospitals would readily accept a Medicare card that had been tampered with.
So people actually check for a Medicare card? It thought once you were in the system with your SSN then nobody bothered to look at it.

Sigh. I'm going to have to ask my brother if he's seen Dad's Medicare card. Nobody's asked for it yet on my end (the financial side). Apparently nobody's asked for it at the care facility or the oncologist's office either.

Maybe Dad is still carrying it around in his wallet.
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:17 PM   #56
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Another funny thing is the practice of making a photocopy of your insurance card.
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:57 PM   #57
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Doctors fees are heavily regulated, making it difficult for small offices to keep up with the types of technology that offer no return on the investment. Older docs are reluctant to take the investment out of their retirement accounts and younger docs are straddled with debt. A possible solution would be a records fee to be paid annually by the patient out of pocket. This fee would cover the technology and the staff required to service it.
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:39 PM   #58
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Bingo!!
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:25 PM   #59
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I wonder whether conversion to electronic would save them money in the long run?

The mailed records have still not shown up, so they will be mailed again.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:58 AM   #60
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I wonder whether conversion to electronic would save them money in the long run?

The mailed records have still not shown up, so they will be mailed again.

Lost and with all your personal info all over them.
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