While COVID-19 has expanded opportunities for patients to connect with providers through the use of telehealth services, it may also create opportunities for scammers to commit fraud by taking advantage of the unfamiliarity some patients may have with this new method of accessing healthcare.
CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) recently announced that many health systems across the country are reporting an increase in scammers reaching out to patients via “robocalls” to request personal data such as health insurance information, social security numbers, credit card information or other Personal Identifiable Information (PII). These scammers will often contact patients pretending to confirm an upcoming telehealth appointment or future medical procedures.
“Tower Health does not use automated phone calls to gather or confirm patient information,” said Michelle Trupp, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Tower Health. “For video visits, patients enter their information via Tower Health’s online MyChart. For telephone visits, office staff will gather the necessary information when the patient first calls. If later confirmation is needed, office staff will call the patient and identify themselves as being with a Tower Health practice or facility.”
Please review these important reminders to protect yourself, family members, and loved ones against telehealth fraud:
- If you receive a “robocall” asking for your medical insurance information, social security, or financial information, hang up. It is likely an attempt to gather your personal information for fraudulent purposes.
- If someone you don’t recognize emails or texts you about your doctor’s appointment, please use caution. Do not respond before calling your healthcare provider’s office first to confirm they are trying to contact you.
- Do not rely on caller ID. Scammers can use technology to create fake names and numbers that appear to be local numbers.
- The Federal Trade Commission has more information about robocalls, on its web site.
The safety of our patients is of the utmost importance to Tower Health. By educating the public we hope to protect our communities against telehealth fraud.
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