I have been consulting in healthcare IT sector for five years and counting. Before that, I was in the academic, restaurant, and retail workforce for nine years combined. A lot has changed in the five years that I have been consulting.
The healthcare IT staffing industry is one of the few staffing industries where the staff and contractors gain unrestricted access to sensitive client information. Thus it is only right that this privilege is redundantly vetted and monitored. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
In my consulting years, I have encountered projects where more than 30% of the contracted staff are clones. In other words, these staff are working with someone else’s identity with their full consent and support.
So, what exactly is a clone? Let’s take, for example, a Felicity and a Jane. Felicity is a seasoned and experienced staff/consultant who gets countless contract offers for project opportunities. At the same time, Jane is a relatively new and inexperienced consultant who is looking for contract opportunities or ways to enter the consulting industry.
There have been instances when it would have been highly impossible for the clients not to have noticed that something does not add up, instances when the client, due to some troubling report of clones, decides to do daily multi-step photo ID verification. Unfortunately, there have also been instances where both the consulting firm and the client looked the other way. Perhaps due to their critical desire for an uninterrupted project, which would not be the case if they decide to take the appropriate, ethical, and legal actions.
This criminal epidemic has been going on for years. Moreover, there have been instances when consultants confronted the perpetrators and consulting firms via LinkedIn posts. This epidemic of cloned criminals has begun to deteriorate the industry’s integrity and expose patients’ PHI to unauthorized parties and criminals, which clearly violates HIPAA.
Something needs to be done. For the industry, in general, The FBI needs to intervene. In the healthcare settings where these crimes are being committed, the Joint Commission needs to intervene with a comprehensive investigation.
Please, note that this is not a formal or informal accusation directed at any firm or organization. However, it is a very formal invitation for the appropriate government authorities and agencies to take a close or closer look at the healthcare IT staffing industry and their willful toleration of cloning and tax evasion and fraud practices.