Red Flags – Passed Legislation Awaiting Signature

Molly PereiraFeatured News

December 10, 2010

On Dec. 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation (S. 3987) exempting certain businesses, including dental practices, from the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Red Flags Rule. This follows on the heels of the U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of the bill on Nov. 30. President Obama is expected to sign the bill by the end of the month.

In a measure to protect the public, the FTC and federal financial institution regulatory agencies established the “Red Flags Rule,” which would require certain businesses to develop and implement a written identity theft prevention program to combat identity theft in new and existing customer/patient accounts.  The original law was intended to apply to financial institutions and creditors, but it was broadly applied to all businesses that obtain the personal information of consumers.  This overbroad interpretation would have adversely impacted many small businesses, like dentists, who were never meant to be included in the law.

When this newly passed bill exempting dentists from the Red Flags Rule becomes law, it could save your practice hundreds of dollars in implementation costs for reviewing and understanding the identity theft rules, and for training your staff on compliance. In fact, the ADA estimates the nationwide savings associated with this exemption to be $72M for dental offices alone.

Thank you to all the CDA members who submitted comments to Colorado’s legislators lobbying Capitol Hill on the ADA’s behalf.  The collective voice of dentistry was heard loud and clear; tens of thousands of ADA dentists who took action helped get the Red Flags exemption legislation through Congress.

The CDA will provide information to members as soon as this legislation is signed and implemented in coming weeks.