What now ? with your empty prescription bottles? What about all of the medical information you receive, such as your explanation of benefits? Being careless with your personal medical information can be dangerous, and the theft of this priceless data can be deadly.
Approximately 1 . 5 million Americans are victims of medical identity theft each year, a crime that costs the nation $41. 3 billion annually. Prescription fraud is a growing form of medical id theft that is not only extremely costly and time-consuming; it can also put your health at risk and even be life-threatening. Unfortunately, medical identity theft isn't commonly known by many Americans, and often isn't detected until it's too late. When we don't take precautions to prevent prescription fraud and other forms of medical identity theft, we put ourselves in jeopardy of becoming another victim.
What is Prescription Fraud?
Prescription fraud comes about when identity thieves use your personal information to fill prescriptions in your name. They use your medical identity to receive medical treatment at hospitals and doctors' offices, obtain medications, and access other healthcare services.
Prescription fraud doesn't just leave you with a huge bill-it can potentially put your health at risk as well. You may find that false information has been added to your personal health record, such as a change with blood type or supposed allergies. Every medical procedure received and prescription filled by the identity thief becomes part of your medical history, which means you may not be able to obtain the life-saving treatment you need in an emergency medical situation.
Detecting and resolving medical identity theft can be difficult as well. You may not discover that you're a victim until a pharmacy refuses to fill a prescription because it conflicts with another medication people appear to be taking. To make matters worse, fixing errors in your record can be very challenging due to medical privacy laws. Ironically, the same laws that were implemented to protect your privacy and health information are now protecting the medical identity thief. This restricted access to medical records prolongs the duration of the theft, costing you countless time, money, and frustration. Check out here Knee pain
How to Prevent Prescription Fraud
One of the easiest ways to stay away from this type of medical identity theft is simply to be aware of what you throw in the trash. Prescription medication labels carry such sensitive information as your full name and address, the prescribing physician, the type of medication, prescription number, and the pharmacy's contact information-all of the things a thief needs to perform prescription fraud. Instead of throwing empty prescription bottles in the trash, including the drug information forms, remove the labels and shred these. Other ways to prevent prescription fraud:
• Review every explanation of benefits (EOB). Examine the charges for medical visits or prescriptions you didn't receive, and report any suspicious activity immediately.
• Never simply toss medical information in the trash. Dumpster divers can easily access your personal information if you fail to shred the documents.
• Secure medical records. Keep your medical records in a protected place inside your home or in a safe deposit box, away from the prying eyes of visitors. Believe it or not, friends and relatives who have easy access to your personal information are often the culprits.
• Safeguard prescription bottles. Hide or lock-up your medication rather than leaving it in plain sight or in a medicine cabinet. This will prevent anyone from walking off with your prescription medication and, later, your identity.
• Manage written prescription slips. Don't throw them away or leave them out where they can be stolen. These slips are all an identity thief needs to fill a prescription in your name, leave you without your medication, steal your medical identity, and even put your life in danger.
• Enlist the help of an identity theft protection service such as ID Theft Solutions, which can proactively help prevent professional medical identity theft and even restore your identity when it's stolen.
Protecting your identity is an ongoing process that takes vigilance. By taking some common sense precautions, you can avoid the exorbitant costs and health risks of medical identity theft.
Some sort of patient's medical history consists of several components of information that conveys the complete details of an individual's present and past health condition. A complete record of medical history should constitute the following information:
1 . Diagnosis:
It is important to know the medical condition that the individual has. For example , does the individual suffer from depression, hypertension, mental retardation, diabetes, heart disease, cerebral palsy or any other medical or mental health problems?
2 . Current Medications:
It is a record skin color names and doses of the medicines that a patient takes.
It is important to make a note of the allergies that a person has. This could include, allergy to medicines, food, dust, pollen, etc .
4. Medication history:
What medicines does the patient take? This includes OTC (over-the-counter) and prescriptions medications that the person may have taken. A documentation of when the medicine was started and stopped needs to be obtained additionally.
5. Current and past Illnesses:
Information regarding any serious or chronic illness that the person has suffered from or suffering from, for example- if the patient has had diabetes or cardiac disease.
6. Doctor Information:
This includes the names of doctors from whom the patient may have previously received treatment from. Names, specialty of the physician, phone numbers of the patient's current medical service providers and other healthcare experts.
7. Emergency Contact Details:
Emergency details include the names and telephone numbers of family member or friends who could be contacted in case of a medical emergency. This is especially helpful if a person suffers from medical condition such as 'Fits' wherein he has no control over himself and needs external help.
8. Surgeries Undergone:
Information of previous surgeries is relevant as they provide you information regarding the seriousness of a particular health. Also, it helps determine the correct line of treatment. For example , if a woman has undergone a surgery for uterine fibroids and has her ovaries removed, it would be necessary that she receive hormonal therapy post operation in order to correct the hormonal imbalance.
9. Hospitalization History:
It is equally important to know why a patient was hospitalized. What were the reasons for his/her discharge? Was the discharge sanctioned by way of the treating doctor or whether a patient requested a transfer from one hospital to another for better services?
10. Family's Medical History:
Collective information of a person's familial conditions such as a history of heart problems, diabetes, cancer or mental illness can assist in better treatment of an individual's medical condition.
11. Details of Medical Cover:
This is of immense benefit for the patient as he/she may claim for a reimbursement in connection with hospitalization or treatment of a specific health condition. Medical Insurance details are required by hospitals to help in smooth transaction and processing of payments.
12. Immunization Schedule Details:
A detailed record of the immunization schedules that a patient has received along with the dates on which the immunization were given.
All this information can come from various sources and by compiling them into an easily accessible folder, your doctor, healthcare provider as well as people, can easily access this information. Since an individual's medical history may change over a period of time, it is necessary to keep your information updated. When an individual is diagnosed with a new health problem or starts taking a new medication, it should be recorded in their medical history. An updated medical history will thus provide a doctor with all the necessary details to effectively diagnose and treat the medical condition of his/her patients.