Although the ADA was successful in their attempts to have dental offices exempted from the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Red Flags Rules, dentists still need to be familiar with the rules and to also be cautious when it comes to identity theft red flags.
Information about the Red Flags Rule and A How-To Guide for Business is available on the FTC website
Some practical examples of identity theft red flags include:
• Altered patient dental insurance cards,
• Dental insurance card info that does not match the patient record,
• Patient address that does not agree with the dental insurance company info,
• Undelivered patient mail or patient returned checks,
• A patient using someone else’s credit card,
• A patient unwilling to share personal information,
• Verifying dental benefits is part of most office’s daily routine, but also verifying the identification of the patient.
Employee training in this area is also a must. Although the following are normal business practices, employee training is key to being assured the procedures are implemented within your dental practice.
The employee training should cover:
• Any violation of the patient’s identity could result in possible monetary fines imposed by the FTC against your dental practice,
• Negative public relations/press coverage,
• Protection of patients’ identity through the protection of their information contained within their patient chart,
• Verify, verify, verify a patient’s identity (request a copy of his or her driver’s license),
• Refuse to treat the patient if the patient is using someone else’s identity,
• Employees should sign an acknowledgment of the training your office provides for protecting patients’ identity,
• Turn the matter over to authorities if the situation warrants.