Several medical associations have filed a last-minute lawsuit to prevent the Federal Trade Commission from extending the identity theft regulations under the Red Flags rule to physicians. The rule, after several delays, is scheduled to be effective on June 1.

The rule requires many businesses, including health care organizations, to take specific steps to minimize identity theft.  The American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association and Medical Society of the District of Columbia filed the suit May 21 in federal court. They charge the FTC exceeded its authority under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, which mandated the rule, in extending its provisions to physicians. Its application to physicians is "arbitrary, capricious and contrary to the law," according to the suit.

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