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Medicare drags feet on secure patient IDs

InformationWeek, October 24, 2013
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should stop using social security numbers (SSNs) as patient identifiers and replace them with another identifier to prevent identity theft, a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said. While this is not the first time that GAO has made that recommendation, its new report noted that CMS has an opportunity to replace its patient identifier as part of its current IT modernization program. Other federal agencies are already moving in this direction, GAO pointed out. Both the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) plan to switch to new patient identification systems by 2016.