Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. Final Privacy Rule Preamble.. Fair Debt Collection and Practices Act

12/28/2000

Comment: Several comments expressed concern that health plans and health care providers be able to continue using debt collectors in compliance with the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and related laws.

Response: In our view, health plans and health care providers will be able to continue using debt collectors. Using the services of a debt collector to obtain payment for the provision of health care comes within the definition of "payment" and is permitted under the regulation. Thus, so long as the use of debt collectors is consistent with the regulatory requirements (such as, providers obtain the proper consents, the disclosure is of the minimum amount of information necessary to collect the debt, the provider or health plan enter into a business associate agreement with the debt collector, etc.), relying upon debt collectors to obtain reimbursement for the provision of health care would not be prohibited by the regulation.