smart ID card for Medicare bill submited

A new bill for upgrading Medicare subscribers identification card has been recently submitted to the Congress. For a good start it has bipartisan support among its sponsors, congresmen Jim Gerlach (R), Earl Blumenauer (D) and senators Ron Wyden (D) and Mark Kirk (R). Among primary goals of the bill are patient service improvement and closing system’s loopholes. The room for improvement is substantial as only in 2010 it’s estimated that $60 blllion was lost to waste and $48b of it was in fraudulent Medicare claims. The proposed pilot program is also supported by senior’s rights advocate Wilfred Brimley and AARP.
The plan is to replace current Medicare identification cards with the solution tested by Department of Defense. Common Access Card (CAC) which is a smart card with chip storing encrypted personal data would be a major upgrade from the card being used now. As of now medicare has a full Social Security Number printed on it. It’s enough to be said that you don’t want to carry anything with full SSN on it with you as it’s a primary target of identity thieves. In regards to closing the loopholes the new systems allows for tracking the services and confirming that care was actually provided as opposed to old school ‘Pay then Chase’ system.
Bipartisan support, senior groups support, widely tested solution, saving $60b a year, do we have a winner here? Not yet, lets see what healtcare industry has to say. Nothing wrong with eliminating waste and improving security but one need to be carefull not to throw the baby with the bathwater.

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UAE: no ID card penalties schedule ammended

We wrote in August about penalty schedule for AUE nationals who fail to apply for a new or renew an expired national ID card. The decision was followed with significant amount of criticism. Today Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID) annouced a new, more relaxed penalty schedule for late ID applicants. All minors under the age of 15 accross all the emirates are exempted from fines until October 1, 2012. Late application fee will be rolled out in 4 phases.
Phase l: includes all expatriates in the Northern Emirates (Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman), in addition to all employees in the federal and local public sector and semi-government organisations and their families –from December 1, 2011
Phase II: includes all expatriates in the Emirate of Sharjah – from February 1, 2012
Phase III: includes all expatriates in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi – from April 1, 2012
Phase IV: includes all expatriates in the Emirate of Dubai – from June 1, 2012.
Late fee still applies to applicants who would like to renew their visa after Dec 31, 2011 and do not posess national identification card.
In the news release EIDA officials also mentioned that application time has been reduced from 30 to 5 minutes on average and therefore lines and overcrowding are unlikely to occur.

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Wisconsin free voter ID card controversy

Discussion about voter ID law is back thanks to Wisconsin DMV internal memo instructing employees how to handle customers who apply for state ID card. It’s a single sentence about who to offer a free ID card that revived the discussion. “While you should certainly help customers who come asking for free ID to check the appropriate box, you should refrain from offering the free version to customers who do not ask for it.”
Quick reminder, free ID is a part of Wisconsin as well as other states voter ID bill which requires identification upon casting a ballot. In most states opponents of the new regulation expressed concern that it would exclude elderly and poor who do not posess qualified identification from voting. As a relief legislators decided to issue free state identification cards to those who would like to vote but do don’t an ID. During budget deficit crisis in most states issuing everyone who asks a free ID or designing a separate ID just for voting were not options due to the cost. A loophole was created instead; while a state identification normally costs around $30 the phrase “it’s for voting” acts as coupon to get it for free. Normal practice in today’s retail shopping? Yes, but this is goverment and it should be fair to all. On the top of it DMV employees job is to close the loophole and the memo doesn’t actually help much. What a DMV agent should do it someone who just paid for ID card comes back and says why did you charge me if I need it for voting?
Law makers should really make sure that when they write law 8 out of 10 people would interpret it exactly the same way instead of pushing the ambiguities down and force the ones who execute the law to interpret it.

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Florida: teen with physician assistant ID badge

A movie or once popular TV series about teenage doctor? No, this time it’s for real and far from amusing. 17 years old Matthew Scheidt was arrested on September 2nd on 5 charges of impersonating physician assistant which is a 3rd degree felony. The thrilling story started on August 24th when Scheidt went to the Osceola Regional Medical Center HR office and requested identification badge replacement. Apparently he was given one without proper data verification. During the week which he was acting as PA he performed medical examinations he provided patient care and accessed confidential medical data. He was wearing the ID badge and physician scrubs. Among the staff he presented himself as a 23 years old Nova Southeastern University graduate; he also mentioned his links to the management of corporation which owns the hospital. His 6 days dangerous adventure ended when hospital staff reported suspicious behavior of the PA who tried to gained access to the restriced areas of the hospital. It turned out that Scheidt was actully employed by the hospital as a part time billing clerk; new finding resulted in immediate termination. Scheidt has a history of misleading people he was sheriff’s deputy when he participated in Sheriff’s Explorer Program which also resulted in his termination.
While the young man is certainly at fault it’s HR procedures which let it all happened. Hospital ID badge can open a lot of doors and issuing it should be preceeded by solid documentation check which apparently hasn’t happened in this case. Impostors are usually naturally talented actors and might be very convincing just as in ‘Catch me if you can’ story.

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Fashion Week, models ID card check for age

Recent Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) guidelines update strongly encourages to verify that models are at least 16 years old at the day of a show. Candidates should present a valid, government issued id card proving the age.
The fashion industry was recently shocked by $28M lawsuit against Urban Outfitters. 15 years old model parents sue the clothing retailer for a photo of her daughter, Hailey Clauson, perched open-legged on top of a motorcycle photo which is currently featured on one of the clothes maker product.
Model agencies already posted some feedback complaining that it’s easy to get a fake ID and a lot of models are coming from foreign countires which makes it difficult to verify age and identity.
But is it really? We actually do not think it is. As the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks national identification documents security was significantly improved. Majority of countries now have biometric featured passports. On the top of that most post Soviet Union countries citizens are required to apply for US visa in order to visit United States. US visas are now biometric documents as well with photo and finger print information encoded during visa application processing at a consular office outside of the US. I can understand someone saying it’s easy to get a fake id of a local school to get a drink in a bar but forging a passport or US visa is not only a felony but also a very difficult task due to high security features. Question remains if model agents should also be expert on documents authenticity. Verifying foreign passport or US visa authenticity is not harder than verifying a dollar bill. Sure it might require some basic training or even help from the State Department or foreign embassies but saying there is no way to verify person age seems like evasion of the problem

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South Carolina free ride to DMV for voter’s ID

Governor Nikki Haley announced on Wedensday a detailed plan for free DMV rides to get voter’s ID card. It’s a follow up of a promise made in July in response to Democrats critcism of new election bill which requires to show photo ID card to cast a ballot. The group of potential voters who don’t have any form of identification that is qualified by the voter’s bill is estimated at 178,000. Free DMV ride event is planned on September 28th and appointment has to be scheduled by September 22nd by calling 1-855-StateID and getting 2 hour pick up window. Free of charge state ID card should be issued in DMV within 30 minutes.
This might look like a solution to Democrats and recent Department of Justice doubts about poor and elderly ability to vote. Not necessarily; in order to apply for state ID card an applicant must present birth certificate, Social Security card and utility bill to prove place of residence. Democrats argue that attorney office may charge $800 and more for a court ordered birth certificate. Dem senator John Land argues that the law was passed in order to eliminate certain voters after president Obama election as the state has no history of voter’s fraud conviction

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SC hires high profile lawyer to defend voter’s ID bill

Since we posted an article yesterday about South Carolina voter’s law amendment being questioned by Departent of Justice a major update has emerged. Paul Clement will represent the state in a possible clash with Justice Department over the doubts if the requirement to produce photo id card upon elections will not diminish the chances of certain groups to cast a ballot.
Paul Clement, former Solicitor General in George W. Bush administration is a legal world celebrity known for his strong conservative orientation. He currently works for Bancroft PLLC with another Bush administration official Viet Dinh who used work for Justice Department; clement is also legal professor at Georgtown University. Previously he partnered in King & Spalding, and was hired by House Republicans to defend the Marriage Act as a bond between one man and one woman, he left the firm after it withdrew from the case in April this year. He’s also known for defending controversial Arizona immigartion bill SB1070 in Supreme Court and representing NFL owners before U.S. court of appeals on players lock out case. His education background includes bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, master’s degree in Economics at Darwin College, University of Cambridge and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School
Hiring Clement is a clear sign of state determination to defend the voter’s law. The state has 60 days starting last Monday to submit answers and data requested by the Department of Justice. Then DOJ has antother 60 days to review obtained materials.

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SC: voter ID bill on hold

US Justice Department has recently requested additional information on South Carolina bill that requires voter to present photo identification upon casting a ballot. The formal inquiry purpose is to clear the doubts raised previously by state Democrats that the new law may abridge some citizens from voting based on race, color, age or spoken language. South Carolina has a unique rule that requires federal approval before proposed bill reagrding state election law goes into force.
The state has troublesome history of voting. 1895 state Constitution practickaly ruled blacks and poor whites out of voting by demanding voter registration process which included poll fees and literacy tests; the process was also controlled by white only staff. Up until 1940 less than 1% of voting age black population was registered which resulted in no representation. It took 70 years to bring fair voting practices back to South Carolina. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 which coupled with state election laws finally let black population vote which resulted in many elected representatives.
The state voter bill, passed and signed by the governor in May requires driver’s licenses, state photo ID card, passport, military card or photo voter registration card (non existent document as of now) to cast a ballot.
Justice Department request for information includes questions and some data as follows:
—When and where can voters get a voter registration card with a photo?

—How will voters be informed of the changes and card availability?

—How will the state train state and county election officials on the changes?

—What’s required for getting a photo ID at the DMV? In addition to a birth certificate, what else can be provided as acceptable proof of a person’s name and date of birth?

—A copy of the state Election Commission’s registered voter list, breaking down by race registered voters who lack a driver’s license. The agency also must describe how it compiled the information and explain how those voters specifically will be informed.

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online ID enrollment for federal contractors

HID Global has recently announced a new online service where federal contractors can apply for employee credentials which comply with Personal Identity Verification – Interoperable (PIV-I). PIV is a Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 requirement. HSPD-12 is a result of 9/11 terrorist attacks raised security. Signed by former president Goerge W. Bush on August 27 2004 directive desribes identification regulations for federal contractors in paragraph 3 “”Secure and reliable forms of identification” for purposes of this directive means identification that (a) is issued based on sound criteria for verifying an individual employee’s identity; (b) is strongly resistant to identity fraud, tampering, counterfeiting, and terrorist exploitation; (c) can be rapidly authenticated electronically; and (d) is issued only by providers whose reliability has been established by an official accreditation process. The Standard will include graduated criteria, from least secure to most secure, to ensure flexibility in selecting the appropriate level of security for each application. The Standard shall not apply to identification associated with national security systems as defined by 44 U.S.C. 3542(b)(2).”
The policy replaces pre 9/11 procedure for federal premises access commonly called flash card badges which name came from the fact that people would just flash the cards to the guards and pass without detailed identity verification.
HSPD-12 experienced hard time when tried to implement new standards. Deadlines were missed number of times. Contractors and employees with federal work history 15 years or less were supposed to complete background checks by October 27th 2007 and not a single agency was able to meet this goal.
Hopefully with strong private industry support like HID Global that can use their vast experience in identification and security areas HSPD-12 can finally get into force.

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free Child ID at Palisades Mall on Saturday

The Masons of Athelstane Lodge No. 839 F. & A.M., Pearl River and the Masons of the Lower Hudson Valley Region are sponsoring a free child ID event this Saturday in Palisades Mall upstate New York. From 10AM to 5PM children can be digitally photographed and finger printed. All data would be then saved to a CD-ROM media which can be quickly handed to the police in case of a kid going missing. No data will remain on the the capture computer. The process should take no longer than 10 minutes. Organizers say they have capacity to make 200-300 safety IDs during the event. Saturday event supports the Amber Alert Program (the same you can often see information on highway displays about search for a specific car). Amber Alert has been developed by the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. Over 20,000 go missing in New York every year. Ability to quickly supply the authorities with missing person data is crucial to find victim.
We recently wrote about FBI iPhone based child ID card which works similar way, except the data is stored on the iPhone insted of a CD-ROM.
Hopefully hurricane Irene doesn’t discourage shopper from coming to the Palisades Mall this weekend and many Child ID will get done.

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