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Doctors, Dentists and Vets Announce Intent to Free-Ride on the Hard Work of Lawyers

Doctors may be better at perpetuating their own elite status than us dime-a-dozen attorneys (Seriously, if you know of any firms willing to pay a "dime" -- gambler-speak for $10,000 -- for a dozen, let's say, summary judgment briefs drafted, let me know). But deep down in places they don't talk about at parties, they know they need us.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that the American Medical Association, along with its Dental, Veterinary and Osteopathic counterparts, sent a "me too" letter to the Federal Trade Commission, after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held the Commission's "Red Flag Rules," requiring businesses that accept deferred payment on behalf of clients to adopt procedures to prevent identity theft, inapplicable to those engaged in the business practice of law. The decision (PDF), in a case brought by the American Bar Association -- which I'm sure has been receiving thank-you notes from grateful solo practitioners who now need not spend a lot of time drafting identity theft detection protocols -- is worded fairly strongly in favor of the plaintiffs. Congress just plain didn't grant the FTC the authority to regulate lawyers as "creditors," says the court.

For purposes of billing, the LHCPs (Licensed Health Care Professionals; only where it's about cost-sharing can you get the neurosurgeons to admit that the guys who clip Fido's toenails are in the same league) say they're a lot like lawyers, and urge the FTC to come right out and say it doesn't believe the Red Flag Rules should be applied to them. Of course, if the Commission wishes to discuss the issue further, it is encouraged to contact this guy, who, as far as I can tell from his Sidley bio, has never performed open heart surgery, or even assisted in the birth of a breached calf.

They need us. Really, they do.

Posted by Eric Lipman on February 17, 2010 at 02:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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