Are your front desk staff members verifying ID and insurance cards when checking patients in?  If not, they should be.  Here’s why:

  • Checking ID is your first line of defense against medical identity theft — and your patients’.  By checking ID and comparing against the name in the record, you can confirm you are actually treating the patient (and not someone who stole or “borrowed” their insurance card).  By asking for ID, you protect your staff against accepting fraudulently presented insurance, and protect your patients from medical identity theft.  (Besides the hassle and financial consequences of medical ID theft for patients, there can be clinical consequences, too, because their records will be updated with the health information of the person using their insurance.  The consequences of this can potentially be deadly — and very difficult to fix.)
  • Checking ID provides a convenient way to verify address at the same time.  Patients may have moved and not realize how important it is to let your staff know.  Invalid address information can cause claims to be denied — especially from the CMS.  This is an entirely avoidable hassle.  Checking ID gives your staff a chance to ask the patient, “is this your current address?”

While your staff should always check ID, it’s not necessary — or desirable — to scan or photocopy the ID; it is best not to store this personal information in your systems.  (Plus, if it is scanned one time, that might discourage your staff from checking the ID itself next time.)

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