Make Sure He Is Real…Good, See Doctor Finder And Healthgrades
Next time you make a visit to a new physician’s office, do something outside the box. The office staff always gets you there early to fill out the mounds of new patient paperwork. Once you fill it out, ask them for a copy for your records. Later, make additional copies of these records. When you have an appointment with another new physician just hand them one of these copies. This makes it easier for everyone.
If you are on any medications, supplements, herbal preparations or over the counter products cut out a little index card to place in your wallet or purse. Great for the doctor’s office, an emergency or if you have a question about a drug/over the counter interaction when speaking to a health care professional. It is so handy to pull out the name, strength and how many times a day you take the preparation.
Don’t Be The Victim!
When you fill out the new patient paperwork, don’t give out your social security number. In 2007, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) came out with the Red Flags Rule. This regulation was supposed to help to lower the chance of identity fraud. The Rule is to prove to the medical practice that you are really who you say you are. It was later decided in Congress that all healthcare providers would be exempt from the law. As of Feb. 2013, that exemption has remained. They do not need your social security number no matter what or how they rationalize why they must have it for you to been seen by the doctor.
You can ultimately offer the last 4 digits of your social number. Offer your driver’s license as an ID, which is valid in any state for proof of self. Otherwise, ask for the office manager and listen to why she/he needs your social security number. State that the Red Flag Rule doesn’t apply to health care professional’s patients. If they will not let you see the doctor without the full social security number, walk. Today, doctors need patients and good word of mouth from patients more than anything.
The reason to keep that number private is due to identity theft. This type of activity is so easy when you have someone’s social number with massive amount of personal information we submit on the new patient forms. All it takes is one time for your number and information to get into the wrong hands to turn your life into a living hell. It is more of a possibility now then ever, especially with this economy.