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Permanent link  Red Flags Rules go into effect May 1

03/10/2009

After a six-month delay, the Red Flags Rules will now go into effect for all health care providers on May 1. Under these rules dentists, doctors and other health care providers are considered "creditors," and must ensure reasonable precautions are taken to protect patients from identity theft.

While it's not yet precisely clear what dentists will need to do to ensure their practices are compliant, the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces these regulations, says on their Web site:

Under the Red Flags Rules...creditors must develop a written program that identifies and detects the relevant warning signs - or "red flags" - of identity theft. These may include, for example, unusual account activity, fraud alerts on a consumer report, or attempted use of suspicious account application documents. The program must also describe appropriate responses that would prevent and mitigate the crime and detail a plan to update the program. The program must be managed by the Board of Directors or senior employees of the financial institution or creditor, include appropriate staff training, and provide for oversight of any service providers.
The American Dental Association has protested the new regulations. In an e-mail today to dental society staff, Dr. John Findley writes:
Speaking for the ADA, I urged the FTC staff not to apply the Red Flags Rule to dentists....

Fellow ADA representatives also explained the special problems that dentists and physicians will face under the Rule. In particular, they may have to report any suspected identity theft both to the patient whose identity is at issue and to law enforcement officials. Reporting of this nature could raise issues under the HIPAA privacy regulations. [emphasis mine] Determining how to harmonize the Red Flags Rule with HIPAA requirements in any given case could result in yet more costs for our members in terms both of their own time and in connection with obtaining legal advice.

In response, the FTC staff expressed its intention to enforce the Reg Flags Rule with "flexibility." It assured the ADA that it sought only "reasonable compliance."
Dr. Findley notes that the FTC demurred on the ADA's requests to exempt dentists from the rules, provide formal guidance on how dentists should incorporate the rules into their practices or delay enforcement until more information was available.

Additional reading:
An overview for business owners, from the FTC
The complete guidelines, from the FTC
News coverage from the ADA ( 1, 2)
The ADA's letter of complaint to the FTC
The FTC's response to the AMA's objections about treating doctors as creditors
A brief summation by Dental Blogs


Categories

dentist , red flags rule , practice management ,


So, now what are we supposed to do?? Wait? Start working on the "written plan?"

Posted by: Anonymous (noreply@blogger.com) on 05/16/2011