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CMS initiative helps swindled providers avoid collections calls

Dec 11, 2011 Karen Umpierre

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced an effort to help physicians who have been subject to identity theft clear their names, American Medical News reports. Called the provider victim validation/remediation initiative, CMS has deployed contractors who can investigate a physician's complaint and create a report for the organization to look over. "Identity theft can be devastating for physicians - consuming significant time and financial resources," AMA president Peter W. Carmel told the media outlet. "The American Medical Association urged CMS to assist identity theft victims to quickly resolve the issue and avoid financial liability." If left alone, physicians may have their billing information fraudulently used without proper identity verification. With a tarnished financial history, a doctor may have difficulty obtaining future loans or running his or her own practice. The Second Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that doctors aren't the only ones at risk, according to CSO Online. The number of data breaches increased 32 percent since last year, and 96 percent of providers reported at least one instance of security lapse within the past 24 months.