CENTREVILLE – Touchette Regional Hospital, 5900 Bond Ave. in Centreville, Ill., has moved to reduce the risk of patient fraud by becoming the first hospital in Illinois to install the SafeChx identity theft protection system from CrossChx healthcare intelligence solutions.
SafeChx is said to eliminate fraud and medical errors in seconds. The system scans a patient’s finger at registration and assigns the scan an ID generated from CrossChx’s proprietary algorithm, immediately linking it to the patient’s records so that no other person can take advantage of his or her medical benefits. SafeChx does not capture one’s fingerprint, but instead uses biometric technology to appoint a code for use only by the patient’s health provider and hospital. Furthermore, CrossChx fully abides by HIPAA regulations.
Medical identify theft is a mounting problem in the U.S., threatening not only patients’ financial health, but their physical health as well. According to the Ponemon Institute, an independent research firm, 1,800,000 Americans were victims of medical identity fraud in 2013, costing them more than $12.13 billion in out-of-pocket expenses.
Since implementing the system in November, Touchette has experienced a 98 percent compliance rate among patients as they begin to fully understand the effect identity theft can have on their lives. Lynn Roberts, an admitting representative at Touchette, has seen first-hand the peace of mind SafeChx gives her patients.
“The problem with identify theft is that people rarely pay attention to it until they’re the victim,” she said. “Too often people think it will never happen to them, but it happens – a lot. It can happen to anyone, especially the elderly and even children, and anything we can do to take the risk off someone is a great thing.”
Scammers regularly steal information to secure healthcare for themselves, purchase drugs under a victim’s information, or submit fraudulent claims to a victim’s insurance company. And the crime can be life-threatening for the target.
Explained Dr. Tom Mikkelson, chief operating officer of Touchette, “When a scammer uses another person’s information to receive care, his or her health issues become part of the victim’s medical records. If blood type, allergies or medications are listed incorrectly in the records, it could affect the decisions doctors make in an emergency situation. The technology behind SafeChx ensures that duplicate information is eliminated and medical errors are reduced.”
SafeChx is available at no cost to Touchette patients at all registration areas in the hospital, including the emergency room, and at Archview Medical Center, Touchette’s specialty care group, located at 2071 Goose Lake Road in Sauget. Registration staff have been trained in the process and can answer questions regarding the need for the service. While SafeChx is not mandatory, the service will be offered to all patients. For more information on the technology behind SafeChx, visit www.crosschx.com.
Touchette Regional Hospital serves the Metro East communities of Alorton, Cahokia, Centreville, East St. Louis, and Washington Park.