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February 1, 2012

Physician Medical Identity Theft

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Program Integrity, Baltimore, Maryland.

JAMA. 2012;307(5):459-460. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.78

It took several months for one physician to learn that she was a victim of medical identity theft. This realization occurred after patients reported that her name was on their Medicare Summary Notices although they had never seen her. A fraudulent clinical practice had enrolled in Medicare using her name without her knowledge. Another physician had retired from clinical practice but decided to work part-time. Nearly 2 years after sending out job applications, he was asked by Medicare to return more than $350 000 in overpayments made to a practice he had interviewed with but never joined. The Department of Treasury began to garnish his Social Security payments for unpaid debts.

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