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ID theft rule still applies to physicians, FTC says

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 19, 2010

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The Federal Trade Commission rejected organized medicine's request to exempt physicians and other health care professionals from an identity theft prevention regulation, despite a recent court decision excluding attorneys from the rule.

A 2009 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that the FTC exceeded its authority in enforcing its "red flags" rule against lawyers. But in a March 25 letter to the American Medical Assn. and other health care organizations, the commission said it was unclear whether the ruling, if upheld, would apply outside of the legal profession. The FTC is appealing the decision in the case, brought by the American Bar Assn.

In January, the AMA petitioned the FTC to refrain from enforcing the red flags rule -- set to take effect June 1 -- against the health care industry until the ABA litigation was resolved. But the commission said Congress did not grant it the power to authorize such an exemption. Federal lawmakers are considering a potential legislative exception, the FTC letter said.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/04/19/gvbf0419.htm.

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