Florida bill requiring biometrics for patient identity verification raises concerns

February 7, 2016 - 

Florida House Bill 1299, sponsored by Rep. Dane Eagle, has a provision that would require Florida hospitals to install software that allows them to use biometrics and the state driver’s license database to verify Medicaid patients identification, according to a report by the St. Augustine Record.

Medicaid is a social health care program for families and individuals with low income and limited resources.

When the bill came up for a vote last month in the House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee, Rep. Amanda Murphy proposed an amendment that would have struck the requirement that hospitals use biometrics to confirm the identity of Medicaid patients and questioned why a simple barcode scan of a person’s identification card wasn’t acceptable. The amendment did not pass.

The Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida have also expressed concerns saying that hospitals already use a variety of systems to confirm patient identity and requiring software that ties into the state driver’s license database was too restrictive.

University of Florida Health Jacksonville has an “elective admission” policy that allows patients to keep a copy of their photo identification in their medical records but current government regulations prevent hospitals from making patients show photo ID to be treated in the emergency room. “We have looked into biometric identification but there are several challenges, among them the cost and government regulations,” said UF Health spokesman Daniel Leveton.

According to the report, bill sponsor Eagle doesn’t know how much it will cost hospitals to implement the technology, if the state will help pay for this service and he doesn’t have information about how much stolen identities cost the $25 billion Medicaid program.

The House bill needs to be approved by two more committees before it is ready for a floor vote.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.