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How health care providers can prevent identity theft

Theft of physicians' National Provider Identifier is common in fraud cases, and the victims usually are unaware their NPI has been stolen, says HHS Office of Inspector General special agent Matt Charette. NPIs cannot be completely concealed, but experts say health care providers should stop using it where it is not required, share it only on a need-to-know basis, ensure former employers no longer use it, keep detailed billing records that are backed up externally, and notify the HHS OIG or the CMS Center for Program Integrity if they suspect fraud.

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