Jon Leibowitz, the head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), tells AMA delegates that although the agency is delaying enforcement of the security rule, it is Congress' responsibility to exempt physicians from it.
Physicians should not be required to follow the so-called red flags rule that requires anyone offering credit to develop and implement written identity theft prevention and detection programs. That's the word from the head of the Federal Trade Commission -- the organization that first declared physicians must submit to the rule.
Leibowitz said the rule will not be enforced on members of the AMA, the American Osteopathic Assn., state medical societies and the Medical Society of the District of Columbia while one of at least two lawsuits on the red flags rule works its way through the court system.
A sticking point is whether the FTC can reinterpret the law and issue a new rule or if legislation is needed to prevent physicians from being affected. The FTC says it needs legislative action. The Senate's Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs is considering a House-passed bill that would exempt certain small businesses, including medical practices, with 20 or fewer employees.