Registrar prevents identity fraud attempt

Training initiative laid the groundwork

The emphasis by Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care’s training and data quality team on making sure registrars were well acquainted with the system’s process for preventing identity fraud paid off recently, says Sue Underbrink, CHAM, supervisor of metro patient access training and data quality.

"An individual had been accessing Aurora Health Care for services using multiple aliases," Underbrink adds. "A registrar at one of our facilities was instrumental in stopping this individual from continuing to commit identity fraud by following Aurora’s Patient Identity Fraud Policy. (See policy.) "The quick action of the registrar resulted in an on-the-spot arrest and filing of multiple charges against this individual," she notes.

A training initiative Aurora implemented earlier this year helped ensure that registrars understand the importance of accurate patient identification, Underbrink says. "[Trainers] went out and sat with every registrar and observed the entire process for three to five registrations," she explains. "We have a policy in place, a requirement that registrars ask for a photo ID."

What trainers observed was that registrars consistently asked for the ID and copied it, but that they weren’t really looking at it, Underbrink notes. "Because of that observation, and getting feedback to [employees], we think it’s getting better."

During that initiative, which examined the quality of all registration functions as well as the ID requirement, trainers provided individual feedback on each registrar, and a summary of overall departmental performance, she says. In the first half of 2004, the team will follow up to see if improvements have been made. "We will go back and spend one to three days [at each hospital] and just take a look," Underbrink says. "Are they asking the Medicare Secondary Payer [MSP] questions, or are they assuming the answers?"

Trainers had observed that registrars asked the MSP questions in such a way as to lead the patient to say no, she says. "They would say, You’ve never had a kidney transplant, have you? This isn’t workman’s comp, is it?’"

After the feedback was provided, Underbrink adds, improvements were made, as with the patient ID policy. "[Before] they just didn’t understand the importance of what they were asking."