Legislation introduced in the Senate would exempt a "health care practice" with 20 or fewer employees, as well as accounting and legal practices of the same size, from the Federal Trade Commission's Red Flags Rule.

The rule, from the Federal Trade Commission with an enforcement date of June 1, requires businesses to take specific steps to minimize identity theft. The Senate bill, S. 3416, was introduced on May 25 and now is available on the public congressional Web site, at congress.gov.

Under the bill, "Health care professionals" providing care through a qualified health care practice include a physician, dentist, podiatrist, chiropractor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, marriage or family therapist, optometrist, speech therapist, language therapist, hearing therapist and veterinarian.

The legislation also would exempt "any other business, if the Commission determines, following an application for exclusion by such business, that such business knows all of its customers or clients individually, only performs services in or around the residences of its customers, or has not experienced incidents of identity theft and identity theft is rare for businesses of that type."

The bill was referred to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which has no scheduled meetings before the June 1 deadline of the Red Flags Rule.


--Joseph Goedert


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