GREENCASTLE -- It is estimated as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen annually. Nearly five percent of these victims report having experienced a medical identity theft.
With individuals seeking medical attention under a false name, the victims often finds his or her medical benefits exhausted and are left with unpaid bills. Victims can also find themselves in a serious medical predicament.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a Positive Patient Identity regulation.
Effective Sunday, all patients seeking medical attention at Putnam County Hospital will be asked to show an acceptable photo ID upon entering for treatment.
Acceptable forms of identification include any local state or federal government agency issued ID, such as driver's license, passport or military. In the event a patient does not have photo identification, two forms of non-photo ID, one of which has been issued by the state or federal agency -- social security card -- along with a utility bill or school identification card will be accepted.
When a patient is younger than 18 years old, the parent/guardian present will be asked to present his or her identification.
PCH has begun installing Web cams at each registration station to photograph each patient. The photo will be permanently attached to the patient's medical record to insure positive identification.
"The regulation has been established as a safety precaution for our patients," said Susan Franz, privacy officer and medical records manager for PCH.
"We want to be sure that the person that is in front of us is truly who they say they are," she added.
The hospital asks for cooperation from patients as this new process is rolled out, by having your ID ready upon arrive, Franz said.
"Patient safety is our number one priority," she said.