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Congress moves to address FTC Red Flags Rule

Support offered by dental, medical, business coalition

Washington—The Senate moved quickly and in bipartisan action this evening to remove certain businesses including dental practices from the Federal Trade Commission’s Red Flags Rule.

A 28-member coalition of dental, medical and business groups, led by the ADA, told Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) that they “look forward to working with your offices to pass legislation before Jan. 1st, thereby reversing the negative impact this regulation would have on thousands of small health care providers nationwide.”

In a related communication, ADA President Raymond Gist urged grassroots dentists to contact their senators and request support for the Thune-Begich proposal.

In the House, dentist/Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Reps. John Adler (D-N.J.) and Paul Broun (R-Ga.) were planning to introduce similar legislation and have it passed under a suspension of the House rules, which is an expeditious procedure for passing relatively noncontroversial or emergency measures by a two-thirds vote. The procedural emphasis in both chambers was on speedy passage of identical bills for the president’s signature.

The Red Flags Rule requires financial institutions and creditors to develop a written plan to prevent and detect identity theft. The FTC has said that dentists and other health professionals are creditors subject to the regulation depending on their credit arrangements with patients as defined by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act and must implement a Red Flags program by Jan. 1, 2011.

The ADA has challenged the FTC on that interpretation of the law and its application of the rule to dentists.

The 28-member coalition supporting Senate action include the Academy of General Dentistry, Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Periodontology, American Association of Endodontists, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American Association of Neurological Surgeons/ Congress of Neurological Surgeons, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Association of Orthodontists, American Chiropractic Association, American College of Prosthodontists, American College of Radiology Association, American Dental Association, American Gastroenterological Association, American Optometric Association, American Physical Therapy Association, American Podiatric Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, National Association of Social Workers, National Dental Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.