For those who are erroneously listed, this can be a real problem but still let’s keep this in its proper perspective and the error factor is small by comparison of the data that is included and the DMF files are still worth checking by all means.  People were denied bank accounts, jobs and benefits as someone told them “they were dead” data says so.  Now by comparison, look what happened in 2010 with the City of Buffalo paying out over $ 2 million on health insurance premiums for “dead” people.  It certainly would have been worth their time to check.  You can do this online too. 

City of Buffalo Has Paid Over $2 Million to Provide Health Insurance for Hundreds of Dead People-Some as Many as 4 Years

If you find yourself on the list by mistake, then you have to go through the pain staking efforts to correct all of this, and gee they wonder why consumers don’t jump on to analytical software much faster:)  Last I heard the City had to file a lawsuit to try to recover some of the money as the insurers may not have been to anxious to return the money as hey that’s easy money, deal folks don’t file claims.

I ran across my own stuff here too with finding HealthGrades and a number of other online MD directories and rating services including a ton of dead doctors, MDs listed at hospitals they never worked at and so forth.  In one case there was a business agent for one of the HMO carriers listed as a doctor, so same old garbage in and garbage out applies.  Next time someone asks you to verify what’s on the screen, give the consumer the benefit of the doubt as you never know.  In addition we have folks that practice some not so accurate methodologies in creating algorithms for profit and those are usually heavily marketed too, so again, ask questions. “We can’t do your surgery, you are already dead”…could you imagine that statement coming up? 

HealthGrades And Other MD Rating and Referral Sites List “Dead Doctors” on Their MD Information Pages And Even Include the Insurance Plans the “Dead Doctors” Honor

Use this link below and listen to what Professor Siefe from NYU has to say about the dark side of mathematical deception, and how math is not a 100% methodology of finding the truth any more.

“Numbers Don’t Lie, But People Do”–Radio Interview from Charles Siefe–Journalists Take Note, He Addresses How Marketing And Bogus Statistics Are Sources of Problems That Mislead the Public & Government

In August of 2009, I made the post below so algorithmic formulas could be audited and validated for accuracy.

“Department of Algorithms – Do We Need One of These to Regulate Upcoming Laws?

Scientists too are making big mistakes too.  The alcohol benefits discussion too is discussed well and how the crunching of numbers is impossible.  Below is one huge mis match that is nothing but full out marketing with relating a credit score to prescription adherence and I hope they are called on this one soon.  What this all says is to question numbers and items given to you if you do not think they are correct and you just might be right when we all face the brain washing marketing efforts we see exploited all over the web today. 

As for the Social Security Death Index, still a great tool by all means but question if you think there is a chance that the person may still be alive or especially if you find yourself listed:)  BD 

FICO Analytics Press Release Marketing Credit Scoring Algorithms to Predict Medication Adherence–Update (Opinion)

From the website:

“The Death Master File, available as an online search application or as raw data files, is important for death verification.   Medical researchers, hospitals, oncology programs all need to track former patients and study subjects. Investigative firms imageuse the data to verify the death of persons, in the course of their investigations. Pension funds, insurance organizations, Federal, State and Local governments and others responsible for payments to recipients/retirees all need to know if they might be sending checks to deceased persons. Individuals may search for loved ones, or work toward growing their family trees. Professional and amateur genealogists can search for missing links.

The Death Master File (DMF) from the Social Security Administration (SSA) contains over 89 million records of deaths that have been reported to SSA. This file includes the following information on each decedent, if the data are available to the SSA: social security number, name, date of birth, date of death, state or country of residence (2/88 and prior), ZIP code of last residence, and ZIP code of lump sum payment. The SSA does not have a death record for all persons; therefore, SSA does not guarantee the veracity of the file. Thus, the absence of a particular person is not proof this person is alive.”

Tens of thousands of people's identities are exposed to identity theft each year due to an unlikely source: the Social Security Administration (SSA). That's owing to the agency's data entry personnel sometimes misclassifying a person, still living, as having died.

The errors appear to affect fewer than 1% of the 2 million deaths that are reported annually and logged in the SSA's Death Master File (DMF). The file is sold to more than 300 clients by the National Technical Information Service--part of the Department of Commerce--and is meant to help block identity theft and fraud.

But in the past three years, 31,931 living people have had their information included in the DMF, reported Columbus, Ind. newspaper The Republic. As a result, those people have faced everything from frozen bank accounts and rescinded job interview offers to cellphone contract cancellations and loan rejections.

Notably, in August Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) wrote to the SSA's commissioner, Michael Astrue, inquiring about the agency's approach to handling incorrectly reported death errors, after reports surfaced about the impact that those errors were having on people's lives. "As you know, if a person is mistakenly placed on this list, it can result in problems with credit agencies, applying for a loan, or even getting a job," he wrote. "In addition, individuals who have been in this situation report that the problem can be difficult to resolve." He also questioned why the number of errors involving Illinois residents had seemed to almost quadruple between 2007 and 2008.


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