The US Department of Health and Human Services is investigating whether some companies, including IBM, could be selling fraudulent health records to people using their own personal e-mail addresses.
The inquiry comes after a whistleblower at IBM told the US Senate Judiciary Committee that some of the largest companies were offering “a scam” to people who were using an old version of their email address and other addresses.
“Companies that offer to sell health records using an address you provided to the government are often using a scam to entice people to fill out fraudulent health data reports,” said US Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa.
The government has not yet identified the companies or their customers.
“It is possible that people may be duped by these fake documents to provide false or misleading data,” Grassley said in a statement.
“I am asking the Department of Justice and the Department’s inspector general to conduct a thorough review to determine whether there are any violations of law that might result from this activity.”IBM and other major tech firms have previously been criticised for selling health records without the consent of consumers, as a way to skirt government regulations and get around the requirements of the federal Food and Drug Administration.IBM said it does not sell medical records to consumers through its own websites.
The Federal Trade Commission says it has received reports of fraudulent health record sales from a number of major tech companies, but not from IBM.