To fight identity theft, the American Medical Association wants stronger protections from the federal government for Social Security numbers and income tax-related identifiers.

During its annual meeting in Chicago, the AMA House of Delegates passed a resolution requesting the Internal Revenue Service and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to prohibit use of SSNs by insurers, health care vendors and state agencies other than those with taxing authority or handling non-financial businesses.

The resolution also calls on the IRS to “adopt policies to ensure greater security protection for electronically filed federal tax returns, including the universal use of PINs, or personal identification numbers.” The AMA contends that physicians and other health professionals in at least 18 states have suffered tax fraud after their identity was stolen and used to file fraudulent federal income tax forms. Identity theft has affected thousands of physicians and cost them $4 billion in 2012 alone, according to the association.

Resolutions often have little effect on policymakers, but the AMA’s fight against ICD-10 showed the organization has firepower in that arena. The AMA waged a fight against ICD-10 for two-and-one-half years even as it was simultaneously working to prepare its physician members for the transition. Then, during a congressional battle in March 2014 over fixing Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula for paying doctors, physician groups were instrumental in getting language in the “Doc Fix” bill that delayed ICD-10 for another year until October 2015.

Now, with ID theft one of the fastest growing crimes, “the AMA is committed to taking bold steps to ensure physicians are protected,” says Barbara McAneny, M.D., incoming board chairman.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Health Data Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access