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ACA International Responds to CFPB Policy Guidance on Medical Debt Collection and Credit Reporting

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01/13/2022 5:00 P.M.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Anne Rosso May

Communications Director

ACA International

[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – January 13, 2022  – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a medical debt compliance bulletin and policy guidance for debt collectors and credit bureaus on the requirements of the No Surprises Act, which includes consumer protections for medical bills.

ACA International is reviewing the compliance bulletin and policy guidance but has some initial concerns that the CFPB is acting outside the formal rulemaking process. The result is consumers, medical providers, and the accounts receivable management industry are unclear about expectations, despite their overarching goal and commitment to ensure accurate billing.

“ACA members take their compliance obligations to their medical provider clients seriously and are committed to helping consumers resolve legally owed debt in a compassionate way, which enables a sustainable marketplace where medical care is provided to those in need,” said ACA CEO Scott Purcell. “ACA appreciates the intent of the guidance to ensure that consumers are not surprised or misinformed; however, it appears to miss the mark by possibly creating new and opaque compliance expectations. New requirements should be addressed through the rulemaking process, which allows all stakeholders to participate through public notice, comment, and discussion. That public process enables even better solutions to be unearthed by the people responsible for these processes, and the value of that will be missed.”

As businesses, hospitals, and other providers across the country continue to face unprecedented challenges as a result of COVID-19, the work of ACA member companies is more important than ever. As part of the process of attempting to recover outstanding payments, ACA member companies are an extension of all community’s health care providers and businesses. ACA member companies work with health care providers to ensure they can continue to serve their communities today and for years to come.

Notably, ACA member companies that work in medical debt collections are committed to providing valuable account management resources to many health care providers in rural and urban communities that would not be able to continue without their support and invaluable insight for consumers.

As part of that commitment, ACA staff and members were part of the Healthcare Financial Management Association Medical Accounts Receivable Resolution Task Force that reconvened in 2020 to update best practices for the fair resolution of patients’ medical bills and address financial assistance policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and potential future public health emergencies.

The resulting report reflects the task force’s consensus on the current state of best practices related to the equitable resolution of the patient portion of medical bills.

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ACA International (ACA), the association of credit and collection professionals, is the largest membership organization in the accounts receivable management industry. Founded in 1939, ACA brings together third-party collection agencies, law firms, asset buying companies, creditors and vendor affiliates representing industry professionals. ACA produces a wide variety of products, services and publications, including educational and compliance-related information; and articulates the value of the accounts receivable management industry to businesses, policymakers and consumers. www.acainternational.org.

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