The Federal Trade Commissions new red flag rules aimed at preventing identity theft are generating lots of phone calls to the Medical Group Management Associations Washington office.
Its the No. 1 question were getting, said Lisa Goldstein, MGMAs government affairs representative for the groups eastern and southern section. Goldstein gave the groups annual Washington Update presentation at the MGMAs annual conference in San Diego.
The question MGMA members are asking is whether the new rules apply to physician group practices. The rules, which take effect on Nov. 1, require any creditor to implement a program to guard against identity theft of those who receive credit. The rules are targeted at lenders and are not specific to any one industry.
According to Goldstein, the issue is whether group practices or, in fact, any healthcare provider that offers patients installment-payment plans are creditors. Goldstein said that the MGMA and other national healthcare organizations have asked the FTC for guidance on the matter and that the groups expect to receive that guidance in the near future. However, Goldstein said that she wasnt sure whether providers would get that clarification from the FTC by Nov. 1.
In other Washington news, the MGMA is conducting a nationwide survey of its members on their satisfaction level with their local health insurers and other payers. This is the first time were doing this, Goldstein said, Its a tool to see where our members are with payers. The survey questionnaire asks MGMA members about their level of satisfaction with a variety of areas, including prompt payments and fairness in managed-care contracting negotiations. The survey deadline is Oct. 24. Goldstein said that she was not sure whether the MGMA would be releasing any of the survey results publicly. -- by David Burda