Six organizations have formed the new Medical Identity Fraud Alliance and seek other stakeholders to join them.

Initial members include AARP, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Consumer Federation of America, ID Experts, Identity Theft Resource Center, and National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. The alliance’s mission is to offer leadership, education and awareness programs that drive development of best practices and technologies, as well as changes in regulations, to reduce the frequency and impact of medical identity theft.

Initiatives will include performing research to assess the cost of medical identity theft and identify trends and patterns, raise awareness and education, develop new policies to reduce fraud, and empower consumers to be the first line of defense. “Fraud is not a competitive issue,” the organization notes on its Web site. “A clear understanding of the problem requires comprehensive research, collaboration and the sharing of information among organizations--regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Contributing factors that require immediate attention, according to the alliance, include the electronic pervasiveness of protected health information, a changing regulatory environment, an increasing number of individuals with health insurance, alternative delivery models that provide care outside of facilities, and the increasing value of protected health information to criminals.

Organizations joining the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance by the end of 2013 will be recognized as founding members. The organization’s Web site is here and includes a link to a free white paper from the alliance, “The Growing Threat of Medical Identity Fraud: A Call to Action.”

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