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Healthcare reform could impact patient IDs
It's not possible to gauge the full impact that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will have on patient identification processes, says Robin Ten Eyck, CHAM, director of patient access at Sound Shore Health System in New Rochelle, NY.
"We do not yet know which, if any, of the currently enacted changes will materialize," she adds.
However, healthcare reform includes incentives for doctors and hospitals to adopt electronic health records. Protecting the data and securing health information will require hospitals to put technology into place to properly identify patients and reduce identity theft, Ten Eyck says.
National ID cards with magnetic strips containing the individual's health information are one possibility on the horizon, says Ten Eyck. "How much and how soon any of this becomes reality could result in vast overhauls of all our processes," she says. "For now, we trudge along, armed with electronic gizmos and relying on human intelligence to safeguard us."
Erin D. Baggett, director of patient access for Bon Secours Richmond Health System in Mechanicsville, VA, expects that the PPACA will decrease the number of patients attempting to fraudulently use the insurance of other individuals. "Healthcare reform will provide coverage to those individuals," she says.
Baggett says that an argument can be made that through the hospital's patient identification process and the PPACA, a greater population of patients will seek the coverage for which they are entitled. "As health care reform evolves, we will continue to meet the needs of protecting our patients' identities," she says. "This ensures a high level of patient care."