FTC delays enforcing rule requiring programs to prevent identity theft

Published on September 01, 2009
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The Federal Trade Commission again has pushed back the enforcement date of the Red Flags Rule, from August until November, to give small businesses more time to comply.

The rule requires creditors and financial institutions to develop programs to detect warning signs of identity theft, or red flags, and then respond appropriately. According to the FTC, health care providers are creditors if they do not always receive payment in full from clients at the time of services.

The FTC delayed enforcement of the Red Flags Rule again partly in response to a request from the House Appropriations Committee that the agency delay enforcement and make additional efforts to minimize the burdens of the rule on health care providers and other small businesses with a low risk of identity theft. The agency plans to release guidance on compliance for small businesses, which will be available at www.ftc.gov/redflagsrule.

The FTC's Red Flags Rule Web site already offers a general how-to guide for business. The AVMA's Red Flags Rule site, provides links to other relevant FTC sites and resources specifically for veterinarians. Among these resources is a step-by-step guide for veterinary practices on how to comply with the Red Flags Rule.

The AVMA Governmental Relations Division continues lobbying to exempt veterinarians from the Red Flags Rule. In June, the AVMA Executive Board approved pursuing passage of the Exemption of Health Care Practices from the Red Flags Rule (H.R. 2345). The bill would exempt health care practices with 20 or fewer employees from compliance.