‘Red flags’ rule delayed again as Congress mulls exemptions
The Federal Trade Commission announced that it will be delaying enforcement of its “red flags” rule through Dec. 31, while Congress considers legislation that would exempt physician, attorney and accounting offices with fewer than 20 employees from having to comply with the regulation that calls for banks and “creditors” to have written plans in place to prevent, identify and mitigate identity theft. The FTC had set a deadline of June 1 for compliance. A bill with such exemptions passed the House in October, and a similar measure was introduced in the Senate last week. The FTC had classified healthcare practices as “creditors” because patients normally do not pay in full for healthcare services at the time they are delivered. The red flags rule went in effect Jan. 1, 2008, and a compliance date was originally set for Nov. 1, 2008, and subsequently moved back to June 1, 2010. The FTC said that, if Congress passes legislation limiting the scope of the red flags rule with an effective date earlier than Dec. 31, the agency will begin enforcement as of that effective date.