Proper identification beneficial to patients
Several resources may help patients understand the importance of proper identification when they are seen at a medical facility.
- The Ponemon Institute’s 2016 National Patient Misidentification Report, based on a major survey of health care workers, found that 86 percent of respondents witnessed a medical error as the direct result of misidentification. Thirty-five percent of claim denials were the result of inaccurate patient identification or faulty patient information. This means the patient could experience a delay in insurance payments, and the health care organization could experience major financial losses due to uncompensated care.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the failure to correctly identity patients can result in medication errors, transfusion errors, testing errors, wrong-person procedures and the discharge of infants to wrong families. Even in a small town such as Norton, where community members tend to know one another by name, proper patient identification is crucial. The WHO says health care organizations should do the following, among other protocols: (1) emphasize the responsibility of workers to check the identity of the patients and match patients with the correct care before that care is administered; (2) encourage the use of at least two identifiers such as name and date of birth to verify the patient’s identity prior to the administration of care; and (3) standardize approaches to patient identification throughout a health care facility or system.
- Another benefit of photo identification during patient check in includes guarding against insurance fraud, which can happen if a patient uses another person’s name, Social Security number and date of birth to receive services that are billed to the fraud victim’s insurance provider. Medical identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission, is a concern for patients, health care providers and insurers. Patients could be victims of medical identity theft if they, for example, get a bill for medical services they did not receive, are contacted by a debt collector about medical debt they do not owe, see medical collection notices on their credit report that they do not recognize, find inaccurate listings of office visits or treatments on their explanation of benefits, are told they have reached their limit on their health plan benefits, or are denied insurance because their medical records show a condition they do not have.
At each registration area are blue insurance card protectors that the hospital and clinic are providing at no cost to patients to help them safely store their information. If you have any questions about the registration process, you may call the clinic at 785-877-3305 or hospital at 785-877-3351, and ask to speak to a registration staff member.