There is rising concern in the workers’ compensation industry over the security of the personal and health information of employees. Worker’s compensation organizations manage an extensive database of such information on employees around the country. According to managed care services provider Genex Services, L.L.C., the amount of medical data and personal health information stored by the workers’ comp industry positions it as an easy target for data thieves. The concern and threat are real, but many in the industry are beginning to use new technology and security practices to significantly reduce the risk.
Easy Access to Sensitive Information
In addition to the quantity and nature of stored data, there is also significant risk in the way data is managed. In the course of business, this data is moved quite frequently. Unfortunately, each information exchange is an opportunity for data thieves. According to a recently released Genex white paper, “The primary worry is unauthorized access to (personal health information), which could be used for identity theft or even blackmail.” The paper goes on to say, “Unfortunately, there are many ways for such data to be accessed. Data is always in motion in comp claims as there are various vendors, case managers, bill review specialists, and independent medical examiners, all transmitting and sharing files and forms every day.”
How Can Workers’ Compensation Companies Safeguard This Information?
Workers’ compensation companies must establish set technical, administrative, and physical controls in order to protect this sensitive information from data thieves. Technical controls such as anti-virus software and programs that detect intrusions, as well as the use of email filtering, are the first line of defense. Administrative controls focus more on the background and integrity of workers’ compensation employees and associates. For example, background checks, confidentiality agreements, and proper training can protect data from dishonest employees as well as from innocent mistakes. Lastly, physical controls involve the security of actual buildings and data centers. These precautionary measures can be implemented with the use of key-fobs and card-based access to buildings.
Personal information is an incredibly valuable commodity for data thieves across the globe. The Genex paper warns that, “The importance of data security can’t be overstated. Targeted attacks are coming from sophisticated organizations around the world. The good news is many in the workers’ compensation industry are stepping up their game by investing in new technologies and prioritizing security.”
Altman & Altman, LLP – MA Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Workers’ compensation exists to reduce or eliminate costs to an employee injured on-the-job, as well as to protect employers from personal injury lawsuits. However, as with anything in life, workers’ compensation isn’t perfect. In addition to the above issues, workers’ compensation sometimes fails to compensate injured employees when they need it most. At the MA Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, we understand the complexities and frustrations that often surround worker’s comp claims. If your employer or the carrier has denied your claim for any reason, we can help. Our dedicated workers’ compensation team has been fighting for the rights of injured workers for nearly 50 years. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. We will assess the details of your case, and help you determine your rights