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Physician Medical Identity Theft

Shantanu Agrawal, MD; Peter Budetti, MD, JD
JAMA. 2012;307(5):459-460. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.78.
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It took several months for one physician to learn that she was a victim of medical identity theft. This realization occurred after patients reported that her name was on their Medicare Summary Notices although they had never seen her. A fraudulent clinical practice had enrolled in Medicare using her name without her knowledge. Another physician had retired from clinical practice but decided to work part-time. Nearly 2 years after sending out job applications, he was asked by Medicare to return more than $350 000 in overpayments made to a practice he had interviewed with but never joined. The Department of Treasury began to garnish his Social Security payments for unpaid debts.

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Figure. Geographic Distribution of Compromised Medicare Physician Numbers (Continental United States, December 2011)
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Data are from the Compromised Numbers Database, CPI.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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