Red Flags Rule delayed for third time as FTC continues its education drive

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House passes bill exempting certain healthcare facilities from 'red flags' rule
House passes bill exempting certain healthcare facilities from 'red flags' rule
The Federal Trade Commission has pushed back the implementation date of the Red Flags Rule until November 1, the agency said Wednesday. The rule establishes guidelines for preventing identity theft and applies to many types of businesses, including nursing homes.

The rule, which was originally passed in 2008, requires any business considered a "creditor" to establish a program that protects consumers against identity theft and fraud. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities and continuing care retirement communities can be considered creditors if they provide services for which they do not immediately charge. They would instead have to receive reimbursement at a later date through private payments or insurance claims for which the patient is ultimately responsible for paying. Under the rule, providers would need to conduct a risk assessment to first determine if they qualify as a creditor and then find the best ways to prevent identity theft.

The Red Flags Rule was first set to take effect on November 1, 2008. That implementation date was moved to April 1, 2009, to further educate businesses on the matter. The April date was then changed to August 1 for much the same reason. Again citing the need to further educate small businesses and "other entities," the FTC has designated this coming November 1 as the implementation date.

More on the Red Flags Rule and how it affects senior care providers can be found at the FTC Web site www.ftc.gov/redflagsrule.