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HIPAA and debt validation

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Asking for your opinion ... thanks

Read this please.. Especially the one that say "the second step....

I found this at:


Section 805(B) of the Act states:

…[W]ithout the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a postjudgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than the consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector. (15 U.S.C. 1692c(B))

This section mandates that the debt collector obtain the consumer's consent before engaging in any communications about the debt with anyone other than the few persons listed in this section. It also should be noted that such consent must be given directly to the debt collector. This requirement for direct authorization ensures that consumers control who receives information about their debts and precisely what information may be shared with third parties about their obligations to pay the debts.

Debt collection is actually a two-step process. First, within five days of an initial communication with the consumer, a debt collector must provide the consumer with a validation notice (15 U.S.C. § 1692g). The purpose of this notice is to provide the consumer with written documentation of the debt, the amount due, and the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed. The notice also must include a disclosure of the consumer's right to dispute the debt, his/her right to inform the debt collector that the collector has misidentified the consumer as the party responsible for the debt and the consumer's right to demand that the debt collector verify the debt.

The second step in the collection process requires the debt collector to actually verify the account information by providing the consumer with the requested documentation thereof before resuming any collection activity on the account. There is only one way for debt collectors to comply with this requirement of the FDCPA, commonly referred to as verification. Therefore, by law, debt collectors must contact the original creditor, in this case, the medical care provider, and obtain a description of the services rendered and by whom, the cost of the services, the application of any insurance or workers' compensation payments, and other relevant information that will help the consumer understand their

payment obligation. Upon the debt collector's receipt of this information from the creditor, the collector must in turn provide the consumer with such documentation in the form of an account verification letter.

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I recieve a statement from a CA and it has a hand writen ledger with the discriptions of the services performed blocked out.

Someone said:

Just an FYI .. according to HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountabilty Act), they can't allow that medical information to be disseminated, even though you were the patient. Its a health information privacy thing, so the 'blocking out' of the procedures was probably done to comply with HIPAA. If this company regularly deals with medical collections, they would have to comply with HIPAA or suffer federal fines and sanctions.

In the second step section would they not have to provide me that information?

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HIPAA is still very new. Conformance is mandatory by all who must abide by it starting in April 2003. Its possible that, in this case, HIPAA may override that portion of 'step two' that you are referring to.. which is a much older law.

Some research would have to be done in order to find out how HIPAA affects these medical CA's in conjunction with the FDCPA.

Under HIPAA, the medical procedures you have are considered

'personally identifiable health information' and therfore protected from use and disclosure by HIPAA.

It appears the ACA has been lobbying hard and complaining that HIPAA will hamper their collection efforts. Here is a press release that shows what the apparent final resolution of collections and HIPAA is:


[Edit by LadynRed on Monday, 4, 2002 @ 07:22 AM]

[Edit by LadynRed on Monday, 4, 2002 @ 07:26 AM]

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