When you are trying to find the whereabouts of a family member or a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, a good way to start is by conducting a death records search.
It may sound morbid, but that way, you can be sure the person is still alive and that further searching won’t be fruitless. Death records are also useful tools if you’re hunting for information about a particular ancestor, as these records tend to be easier to locate than birth certificates or records of marriage. The state in which your ancestor died probably has his or her death certificate on file.
There are two kinds of death records, which are also known as death certificates. The first is a medical death record, on which a doctor – or in some cases a paramedic – certifies that a person has died. The second kind is the government death record, on which a government official states the exact time, location, and cause of death. The reason the government issues death certificates is so that there will be legal proof of death. That way, the person’s last will and testament may be executed and life insurance payouts may be claimed. These records become evidence whenever investigators examine a death caused by foul play or accident. The government’s public health agencies also look at these records to determine what the leading causes of death are in the United States at any one time, and to compile life expectancy statistics.
The government takes death certificates very seriously. A physician must send a certificate to the authorities as soon after a person dies as possible, or else risk losing her license or being charged with a crime. That’s because the government wants to cut down on death-related fraud, such as relatives who continue to collect the Social Security benefits of a deceased individual. Once a coroner verifies a person’s death, the second certificate is issued right away.
What Information is Included in a Death Record?
It’s interesting to note that there are occasions in which it’s unclear exactly when a person has died. The time of death can be difficult to ascertain, for instance, for some comatose patients. In other cases, it’s not clear whether or not a person has even died at all. For example, if an airplane crashes, a person’s remains might never be recovered. In such a case, a court usually issues what’s called an in absentia death certificate. This status is popularly known as being “legally dead.” In addition, American courts often declare people who have vanished without a trace and who have been missing for seven years legally dead. Some people who have been declared legally dead are still among the living, however. In fact, tens of thousands of legally dead Americans might be alive at this moment.
In any event, if the person you’re looking for died after the year 1900, her death records should list her
- Date of birth
- Age at time of death
- Cause of death
- Funeral home
- Burial site
- Marital status and spouse’s name, if applicable
- Names of surviving relatives
If the person passed away after 1950, her Social Security number should also appear on the death certificate.
SearchBug.com provides an easy way of searching death records. All you have to do is go to http://www.searchbug.com/peoplefinder/death-records-free.aspx and type in the first and last name of the person you’re looking for. You can also search for someone by entering a social security number. The site will search available death records and provide you with the information that the person’s death certificate lists. You can try up to five different searches, free of cost, every day.
Insurance fraud has been around almost as long as insurance has been around. This century, however, insurance companies have new tools at their disposal for sniffing out scams and catching those who try to unfairly bilk them out of payments. Among the most effective of these new tools are computer databases.
You can employ an insurance database from the time a customer first applies for a policy. At this early stage, you can use a database to check out the applicant’s history, scour that person’s past for any convictions or financial issues, including bankruptcy filings, evictions or bank foreclosures. You can search people’s identities by entering their names, social security numbers, addresses, or even just their dates of birth. Some databases even track down unlisted phone numbers and social media networks. Advanced databases allow you to delve into information about the true worth of their assets, including land, cars and boats. If any of the financial information you discover contradicts anything a client supplies on his or her application, you’ll know to turn that person down.
Now is an especially good time to use such databases because the federal government and many insurance groups have been teaming up as of late to share information. In 2012, the Obama Administration announced the formation of the National Fraud Prevention Partnership. Members of this partnership include:
- the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA), which is made up of more than 100 insurance companies and groups
- the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)
- the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (CAIF)
Because all these agencies are sharing pretty much everything they know about their businesses, especially about past fraud investigations, it is now much easier for people using databases to discern patterns and spot potential future fraudsters. In the past, government and private insurance detectives often worked alone, and rarely if ever shared the information they dug up with each other. However, many people who commit insurance fraud attempt to rip off both public and private agencies, so the recent trend towards the pooling of information represents a wise policy, one that will allow authorities to catch insurance crooks much sooner.
In addition, the more sheer data on insurance fraud that is shared among these groups, the more accurate insurance link analysis will be. “Link analysis” is a term for a complicated series of processes by which computers recognize patterns among large amounts of different kinds of
data. When applied to the insurance trade, link analysis helps identify the specific actions that insurance scammers tend to take, no matter their backgrounds.
Insurance Fraud Prevention:
Another important step for insurance companies, large and small, to take in order to deter fraud is to train all employees on how to detect fraud. If every employee within a company knows what to look out for, and knows what the warning signs of fraud are, then every employee can be on guard. You never know who could be the person to sound an alarm. A thief might attempt to defraud an employee who is not high up in a company’s hierarchy, believing that he or she will be more likely to fall for a scam. So conduct fraud-detection training sessions each year, and invite all employees to attend.
These databases could not have arrived at a better time. Insurance fraud is a huge problem nowadays. In the health insurance business alone, fraud costs the industry billions of dollars a year, anywhere from 60 to 250 billion, or more. This fraud hurts insurance customers everywhere, because their premiums often rise to cover these losses. Indeed, government insurance regulators often make the case that insurance fraud harms the economy as a whole.
Converting your medical paper files to an electronic health records (EHR) system is a process that must be handled with extreme care. However, it does not have to be a source of anxiety. Remember that if you don’t have employees to spare for this project, you can always hire an outside firm to handle this process for you.
The most difficult part of the EHR conversion is the chart conversion. This is when the staff members of a medical office must take all of their patients’ medical charts and input them into the electronic database. A single mistake could, conceivably, cost a patient his or her life.
What Are the Steps to Convert to EHR?
To begin, make sure that all your patients’ medical charts are completely up to date. And all this information should be written on the exact same kind of form, even if an office employs more than one physician. The forms with the necessary info should be right at the top of the file, so that the clerks who will enter the data into the EHR can process the paperwork as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Rather than try to put every piece of information into the system all at once, you might set up a chart conversion whereby information is added to the system from most important to least important. That is, start by putting in all of the information about your patients’
- current medical conditions
- current medications
- most recent laboratory results, including EKG’s
Once that information is in your system, you can input the info that is still very important but older and not quite as life-or-death, including facts about medical episodes from years ago and about past surgeries.
You also might want to input the information for patients you see frequently first, patients who suffer from chronic conditions and / or patients who are now undergoing complicated courses of treatment. From there, you can move on to the patients who are in good health and who have shorter, more straightforward medical records.
Establish the date when you want your EHR system to be ready, and hold your employees accountable for that date. Without a firm deadline, a project this massive has a tendency to take much longer than it needs to. The due date gets employees focused and encourages them to work faster. And unless you want to oversee the details of this project yourself, appoint a staff member as overseer of the conversion. It will be that person’s responsibility to make sure the project is moving ahead on time, and that every staff member is doing his or her share. In addition, someone should be responsible for handling all of the new data that comes in. For example, if all of Mr. X’s patient data has been entered into your EHR, but Mr. X injures himself while on vacation in Florida and goes to the emergency room, who will make sure that the medical info that the Florida hospital sends to your office makes its way into Mr. X’s EHR file?
Once you have all your medical records stored electronically, keep using the old paper files for a few more visits with each of your patients. That way, you can use a paper file to check a patient’s EHR and ensure there are no mistakes in the electronic version. If you do spot an error, you can correct it on the spot. In a similar vein, keep testing your EHR system thoroughly. Try out all of its different functions to be certain there are no major glitches.
You also must decide what you will ultimately do with all those paper files. You can leave them where they are. You can rent storage space, or perhaps you have an empty room somewhere where you can stash them away. Many states now allow physicians to destroy their medical files if all of the important paperwork has been scanned into a valid EHR database. Of course, you have to be absolutely positive that everything you need has in fact been scanned, and that you have a flawless electronic system in place before you eliminate a single file.
Finally, decide who will train your employees on how to use the EHR system. You can designate an employee to attend a training workshop, and have this person return and conduct a training session of his or her own one day. Otherwise, you could hire an outside expert to come in and conduct a session.
It’s safe to say that a new idea is simply a twist on something we already know. Here is an example: We know that when fog comes rolling in off the ocean we have trouble seeing. The twist on this well-known fact is to use fog to make it difficult for a criminal to see and therefore not be able to carry out the criminal act.
Even though the fog is NOT smoke it can look like smoke so the fire department would also be called out. Smoke Screen Systems are devices that activate when a burglar alarm is tripped. The device sends out a thick fog that makes it impossible for the burglar to find the target item and may even prevent the burglar from getting out of the store before the police arrive. The smoke is non-toxic, non-choking, and similar to smoke you see when the magician says, “Presto.”
Several companies have this product but from what I see it’s not available in the USA. Security cameras are rendered useless and police officers won’t enter a building full of fog.
Please comment if you are familiar with Security Fog.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noah Wieder is CEO of SearchBug, Inc. and the founder of Best People Search. SearchBug.com offers a Free People Finder and Company Search as well as Data Scrubbing Services. Bestpeoplesearch.com is a private investigator portal and Information Retrieval Services web site where investigators offer searches to businesses and individuals with specific search needs.|