The American Medical Association has again asked the Federal Trade Commission to abandon its position that what's known as the “red flags” rule, which targets identity theft in credit transactions, should apply to physicians and their practices because they bill patients. In a new letter to FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz, the AMA, the American Dental Association, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association point to a recent court decision they say supports their complaint that the FTC has overstepped what Congress intended with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. In that case, brought by the American Bar Association in U.S. District Court in Washington, the judge agreed that lawyers can't be considered creditors just because they invoice clients. “The commission not only seeks to extend its regulatory power beyond that authorized by Congress, but it also untimely and arbitrarily selects monthly invoice billing as the activity it seeks to regulate,” Judge Reggie Walton wrote in an opinion issued in December 2009. The FTC, in part in response to vigorous resistance from the AMA, has delayed enforcement of the rule, most recently pushing it back to June 1. The rule calls for organizations that extend credit to have written plans describing how they will watch for and respond to identity theft “red flags” in their billing operations. The original enforcement date was Nov. 1, 2008.
AMA asks FTC to reconsider 'red flags' rule
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