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Health care IT departments must defend against cyber attacks — and also the NSA

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Every successful cyber attack provides a learning opportunity for technologists. WannaCry provides two: Big organizations, particularly in health care, must learn to prioritize safety over compliance; and while doing that, they shouldn’t have to fight against American-made weaponry. For a long time, many health care providers have been worried about the wrong thing in cybersecurity—compliance rather than patient safety. With the WannaCry attack, we see the most frightening example yet of the devastating consequences. Last […]

  • Get Ready For the Medical ID Fraud Crisishealth care, Identity Theft

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    It is a documented fact that unscrupulous healthcare professionals – and dishonest patients – file more than $77 billion worth of fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims on an annual basis. Meanwhile, cyber criminals have been busy the past two years pilfering medical ID data for tens of millions of citizens, as well as business records from hundreds, if not thousands, of healthcare service providers and insurers. These two malevolent forces are on a collision course. […]

  • pacemaker

    Will hackers turn your lifesaving device into a life-threatening one?health care, Technology

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    What seemed like a farfetched scenario out of Hollywood four years ago is now yet another reality that security experts have been warning about. In the screen version, the U.S. vice president is assassinated on the TV show “Homeland” after a hacker takes control of his pacemaker and stops his heart—making it look like a heart attack. In real life, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released a safety warning that St. Jude Medical […]

  • Medical Debt

    There Have Been Double-Digit Increases in Medical Costs in Just a Yearhealth care, Money

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    Anyone who’s reviewed their health insurance statements is well-acquainted with just how high medical bills can climb. Now, a new analysis from TransUnion found that consumers are increasingly being asked to shoulder the costs. Per the credit bureau, patients saw a 13% rise in both deductible and out-of-pocket maximum costs between 2014 and 2015. The average deductible for consumers in 2015 was $1,278, compared to $1,131 in 2014. Out-of-pocket costs rose to $3,470 in 2015, compared to $3,065 the year prior, TransUnion […]

  • Debt forgiveness

    Want to Buy & Forgive Debt Like John Oliver? Not So Fasthealth care, Consumer Protection

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    When John Oliver announced Sunday night that he’d purchased medical debts as a faux collector and forgiven those debts, the Last Week Tonight host’s actions led to a serious question: Couldn’t this strategy be used on a wide scale? After all, Oliver managed to forgive about $15 million in debt for only $60,000. It’s a clever idea that has its roots in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Back in 2012, a group calling itself Rolling Jubilee […]

  • Debt Collector Left Consumers Hanging on Medical Bill Disputes, Says CFPBFinancial Literacy, health care

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    A debt collector with ties to one of the nation’s largest private hospital chains spent yearsviolating basic provisions of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, federal regulators say. Consumers who dispute a debt are entitled to a response within 30 days, according to federal law. Medical debt collector Syndicated Office Systems took, on average, more than 90 days to respond to disputes, and in some cases, took more than […]

  • Cyber thief

    Healthcare, banking companies issue easily spoofed emailsData Security, health care

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    Emails purportedly sent by health insurance companies and large banks are more likely to be fraudulent than those claiming to be from social media companies, a new research study reveals. An email that appears to come from a health insurance company is four times more likely to be fraudulent—or two times more likely from a large U.S. bank—than an email ostensibly from a social media company like Facebook, according to Agari’s 2015 study. Agari, which […]

  • Can You Stop Medical ID Theft After the Anthem Breach?Data Security, health care

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    Anthem, the second-largest health insurer in the U.S., was hit by a major data breach last week. The news broke Feb. 4, and the company posted a letter online from the president and CEO, Joseph R. Swedish. Two sentences from this letter are displayed in a large, blue box on the side of anthemfacts.com, the page created for updates on the situation: “Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack. Based on what […]

  • What the Anthem Hack Means For YouData Security, health care

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    The nation’s second-largest health insurer has suffered a cyberattack that might become the largest hacking headache ever for American consumers. Anthem Inc. announced Wednesday that computer criminals had infiltrated its systems and stolen a treasure trove of personal information. While the firm says no medical data or credit card information was targeted or stolen, hackers made off with names, birth dates, medical IDs/Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. […]

  • Medical Identity Theft Is Big Business for Cybercriminals (Listen)Press, health care, Blog

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    Adam Levin discussed the rise of medical identity theft with Matthew Passy from Wall Street Journal Radio. Cybercriminals target millions of consumers’ medical records in order to use their Protected Health Information (PHI) or to sell it on the black market. Medical institutions and doctors offices with non-digitized or unencrypted files are a treasure trove for such identity thieves — and their successes could cause more than just economic turmoil. Consumers’ very lives could be […]

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