Is your information safe at the doctor's office?
ST. LOUIS – When you fill out medical forms in your doctor's office, you probably assume your information is kept secure and private. But that is not always the case.
Pamela Hoernschemeyer was a supervisor at a health care company that handled billing, collections and other matters.
She had access to patients' personal information, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth and billing addresses.
And she took advantage of that access.
Hoernschemeyer pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.
"She was creating false refund requests," said Jamie Portell, a U.S. postal inspector.
Over four years, Hoernschemeyer submitted fraudulent claim forms and received refund checks totaling more than $100,000.
"She was using her name, her husband's name, her daughter's name and in order to not be detected, she started using varying forms of her name, husband's name, to get these refund checks requested," Portell said.
She combined the fake names with the personal information of real patients.
Inspectors began looking into the case after some inconsistencies with the checks were discovered. Their investigation quickly pointed to Hoernschemeyer.
All Consumer Reports material copyright 2011 Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.