Are you aware that The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is becoming very active in regulating debt collectors? The agency was created in 2010 to regulate banks, credit unions, credit lenders, debt buyers and collection agencies with more than $10 million in annual receipts. Until recently the CFPB’s focus did not include the healthcare market. The CFPB now maintains full regulatory authority to investigate activities as they relate to consumer rights in credit-lending transactions, credit reporting, debt purchase, and the collection of a debt. Recent investigations have been made into credit reporting of medical debt, which is of great interest by the CFPB and the Washington Regulators.

In order to work proactively with the CFPB, ACA International (The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals) and HFMA have joined forces to create a task force that would identify a common set of medical debt collection practices that can be standardized for widespread industry adoption. This change will lead to improvement in the overall collection process, the patient experience, and financial performance, while ensuring a fair collection process for all involved. The 20-member task force is comprised of a cross-functional team made up of numerous providers, consumer advocates, debt collectors, and non-profit providers, all bringing to the table their expertise related to medical debt collection, billing, and consumer focus. The task force’s goal is to create a best practice flow chart for medical debt collection starting from the initial patient visit, followed by write off, and finally to placement with a third party debt collector.

The task force met in Chicago and has successfully generated a first draft of a proposed flow chart that would incorporate not only the best practice for medical debt collection, but also how a patient is provided information related to their bill throughout the process.

Look to HFMA’s Annual National Institute in Orlando for more information about the task force and the outcome. Stay tuned!

About State Collection Service, Inc.

Since 1949, State Collection Service has provided quality collection service to countless healthcare organizations.

Through experience and innovation, State Collection Service has grown to become a tremendously credible and nationally-recognized collection agency offering services from pre-registration to bad debt. It is upon the basis of ethical behavior and a dedication to integrity that each State Collection Service employee works to uphold the company’s vision – Partnerships for a Lifetime.

*This article first appeared in “A State Collection Service, Inc. Newsletter Volume 19, Issue 2, Second Quarter 2013”