by Greg Park
The FTC has delayed enforcement of their Red-Flag regulations. Each deadline has been delayed and providers are inconvenienced with a new false-start. This latest delay maybe the final one as the AMA seeks permanent exclusion for physicians, dentists, veterinarians and accounting offices within the regulation’s scope.
The Federal Trade Commission said Friday it will push back the Red Flags Rule deadline to December 31, 2010, as Congress considers legislation that would affect the scope of entities covered by it.
Officials said today’s announcement and the release of an Enforcement Policy Statement do not affect other federal agencies’ enforcement of the original November 1, 2008, deadline for institutions subject to their oversight to be in compliance.
Medical identity theft is the fastest growing sub-section of all identity theft in the United States. Adhering to the FTC Red Flag Regulations is good for patients, and provider’s bottom line.
The first area is data integrity. Many providers utilize credit-reports to manage the likelihood of patient remittance. The Red Flag Rules mandated providers to report discrepancies between data provided by the patients and data provided through the credit bureau. This step protects your patient and assures accurate data is applied to your business rules.
The second area is the mitigation of insurance fraud. When staff recognizes behaviors leading them to believe the patients presenting information are not the owner of that information, you must identify the account as a potential “red-flag” and subsequently prove or disprove the allegation. This is good business which secures your account liability while assuring against insurance fraud. .
These practices protect the provider’s bottom line while it prevents the spread of insurance fraud.
So why is the AMA seeking to exclude healthcare? Perhaps it is fear of fees and penalties. Or perhaps it’s a belief that healthcare is currently overrun with regulation deadlines, i.e. ICD10 and ARRA.
All hospitals should have these safeguards built into internal policies now, with or without a Federal mandate.
A comprehensive review of the FTC Red Flag Regulations can be found at the DB Technology Events Page. Please fill in the form and ask to access the FTC Red Flags webinar within the description box.