Delegate Lee’s Bill to Fight Health Care and Health Care Identity Theft Passes

In April 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed an important and timely law to protect and fight against health care and health care information identity theft authored and introduced by Delegate Susan C. Lee (D-16) (HB 942) and by Senator Catherine Pugh in the Senate. Lee said, “The rise in theft, misuse and alteration of individual identifiable medical or health care information have resulted in countless citizens being exposed to a myriad of dangerous harm and damage, including being billed for medical services they did not receive; death or injury caused by altered information in their medical records; the denial or limiting of benefits by providers or insurers; drugs being incorrectly prescribed or purchased in their name; and debts appearing on their credit reports they did not incur. With the trend of health care providers fast moving toward electronic medical records, it is now easier to steal or alter those records on a larger scale.”

Along with cutting edge technologies that have enabled health care providers to render more effective medical treatments and services, there has been a surge in cyber attacks employing sophisticated techniques to steal, alter or misuse health care records for purposes of identity fraud. According to the Ponemon Institute, medical identity fraud impacted about 1.5 million Americans at a cost of $41.3 billion in 2012.

Co-Chaired by Delegate Lee and Senator Pugh, the Maryland Commission on Cyber Security Innovation and Excellence, which was created in 2011 to conduct a comprehensive overview and provide legislative and policy recommendations for addressing cyber attacks against our government and the private sector, strongly supported this legislation. The Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, and law enforcement from across Maryland also supported this legislation. Lee noted, “The law updates provisions in Maryland’s current identity fraud law by including certain health care information and services. With major advances and changes in technology, it is important that Maryland also move keep pace in providing greater protections to Marylanders against the damage and harm caused by this new type of identity fraud.”

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