More than 200 compliance executives from AHA member hospitals in 43 states indicated data breaches and medical identity theft continue to grow despite new regulations like the Red Flag Rules and the HITECH Act, designed to protect against the theft and loss of personal information, says a survey by Identity Force. The survey, Spring 2010 National Survey of Hospital Compliance Executives, says that security problems are worsening despite major regulatory efforts. For example, 41.5 percent of hospitals have 10 or more data breaches each year - a 120.7 percent increase over last year's survey. Currently, more than 20 percent of hospitals have 20 or more breaches annually.
In addition, 56.3 percent of hospital compliance officers believe that the new health care reform law will either have no change or will increase medical identity theft at their institutions.
Despite the fact that medical identity theft is the fastest growing form of identity fraud, the survey shows that 71.4 percent of hospitals on average investigate fewer than 50 cases of possible misuse of identity annually, and more than 34 percent still do not keep good patient ID records.
To date, the survey says, only 15.7 percent of hospitals feel they are in compliance with the HITECH Act, which went into effect in February 2010. This lack of compliance mirrors last year's slow compliance efforts regarding the FTC's Red Flags Rule. In addition, 48.3 percent of hospitals do not know if their vendors and business associates are in compliance with the HITECH Act.
For a copy of the survey, please visit