January 31, 2012
For immediate release
Contact: Gerry Ewing / 503-681-1654
An identity theft program involving Tuality Healthcare security, admitting and emergency department personnel is paying big financial dividends.
The program, which was implemented in 2008, has reduced the number of ID theft incidents in the emergency department from 35 to 16. Even more impressive is the actual cost savings. In 2010, 28 incidents of ID theft cost the company $137,386. In 2011, 16 incidents cost the company only $15,500.
Phil Carscallen, supervisor of security services, credits the collaboration among security, admitting and ED personnel for the program’s success.
ID theft suspects commonly are people who are addicted to pain medications or other substances. The intent of the ID theft program isn’t to put people behind bars. Rather, the program is intended to help people with their addiction issues and to get them into the care system for help. “The intent is to stop repetition of a crime and to get people with problems into rehab,” Carscallen said. “That way, we really are providing better patient care for those patients with problems.”
Carscallen wanted to stress two main points:
Here’s how the ID theft program works. When a patient approaches the ED admitting desk, admitting personnel ask for identification. If the patient doesn’t have a driver’s license or other piece of identification, the admitting staff gives the patient an Information Verification Form to fill out. The document asks for name, mailing address, gender, date of birth, age, Social Security number, and driver’s license or ID card state of issue.
Once the patient has completed the form, admitting staff then runs the information through a computer software program to verify that the information is correct. The software searches databases and validates the accuracy of the information provided. If the software flags a patient’s information as invalid, admitting then calls one of Tuality’s security officers to assist with the investigation. All possible cases of ID theft are investigated by security since the flagged information could be legitimate, such as a name change. “If there is any question, we always talk to the patients before we call the police,” Carscallen said. “We always ask them to ‘help us sort this out.’ ”
Steve Krautscheid, director of facilities and properties at Tuality, reiterates the importance of this aggressive screening program. “Tuality’s emergency departments provide care for over 35,000 patients each year,” he said. “Ensuring that these patients receive prompt, compassionate care is an important priority at Tuality, and limiting ID theft better equips us to do so. Congratulations to the staff who have worked together to make this program a success.”