Wednesday, November 4, 2009

FTC Identity Theft Red Flags Rule

Well, November 1 has passed. Are you now in compliance with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Identity Theft Red Flags Rule? If you're a health care provider and you accept credit cards for payment, then you are technically a "creditor" or "financial institution." You must be prepared to safeguard patient information. Any breach of patient privacy or patient data is now a "red flag" and health care professionals (especially those who accept credit cards) have a responsibility to protect their patients from identity theft. Don't start getting any strange ideas of suing your physician if you become a victim of identity theft.

What's interesting is that fewer medical practices are accepting credit cards these days. You may think that more physicians are embracing plastic, but the reality is that these are difficult economic times even for doctors. As a result, many are having trouble paying for all the fees associated with accepting credit card payments. According to SK&A, roughly 33% do not accept credit cards. Does your physician accept credit cards? If not, then maybe you should be grateful because you may have less risk of identity theft if your medical record gets stolen from your physician's office.

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