Thursday, December 16, 2010

Congress Passes Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010

The Health Care Industry, including ambulance services, scored a major victory recently in Congress. On November 30th, the Senate passe Senate Bill 3987 known as the "Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010."

The bill essentially removes most, if not all, health care providers- including ambulance services- from the need to comply with the Federal Trade Commission's Red Flag Rule Program pertaining to identity theft.

The bill, which passed the House on December 7th and was sent to President Obama on December 9th for expected signature any day now, clarifies the Red Flag Rules by redefining what/who a creditor is and limits compliance only to entities that...
  • obtain or use consumer reports, directly or indirectly, in connection with a credit transaction
  • furnishes information to consumer reporting agencies in connection with a credit transaction; or
  • advances funds to or on behalf of a person, based on an obligation of the person to repay the funds or repayable from specific property pledged by or on behalf of the person

Fortunately, most ambulance services do not pursue these practices and thus will be exempt from the need to comply.

As you know, this is a major shift from when the Red Flag Rules were first announced. Originally, the FTC issued an opinion that health care providers were not exempt. Pressure from the health care community prompted Congress to act with the result being the passage of this legislation that all but effectively eliminates health care provider including ambulance companies from compliance.

Enhanced Management Services was, however, prepared to comply long before this legislation was handed down and had already put in place a full working Red Flag Rule compliance plan. Any ambulance billing company worth their salt will continue to adhere to strict privacy practices while monitoring all phases of their operation, legislation or not. The goal for any reputable ambulance billing company must be to prevent health care identity theft by identifying any possible fraud attempts.

What protections are in place in your billing office? If you outsource your billing, do you have confidence that your billing company has the proper controls and processes in place to protect your interests? If those questions leave you feeling a bit uneasy, then contact us at Enhanced Management Services. We'll be glad to show you how we meet and exceed all protection standards.

We welcome your comments on this or any other recent Blog post.

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