Congress exempts veterinarians from Red Flags Rule

Congress has passed an amendment exempting veterinarians from requirements set by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Red Flag’s Rule.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment, titled the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010, Nov. 30, that would exempt veterinarians, as well as lawyers and several other medical professions, from the rule. On December 7 the amendment was passed by the House of Representatives. It awaits President Obama's signature before December 31 in order to become law.

The Red Flags rule originally became effective in January 2008 following an order by Congress to the FTC to develop a set of guidelines to help thwart identity theft. The rule requires creditors and financial institutions to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs to help identify, detect, and respond to patterns, practices, or specific activities, known as “red flags”—that could indicate identity theft.

Full compliance with the rule initially was required by November 2008, but several entities spoke out against the Red Flags Rule, and compliance was delayed several times. The most recent delay, ordered in May 2010, held full compliance requirements off until Dec. 31.

Supporters of the amendment include the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American Dental Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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