Day One Learning at Convention: All About Best Practices, Regulations and Compliance Cycles

Many of ACA’s 25+ breakout sessions were held Thursday for attendees of ACA’s Annual Convention & Expo, ranging from compliance and hiring best practices to technology tips on blockchain.

07/21/2022 4:00 P.M.

5 minute read

If there is one takeaway from Thursday’s interactive learning breakout sessions at ACA International’s Annual Convention & Expo, it is that times in the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry are changing—but with change comes opportunity to evolve together as an association and an industry.

Sessions throughout convention range from regulatory and legal topics to compliance and operations, with a focus on technology solutions for the ARM industry as well.

The CFPB and Medical Debt

Starting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sessions for the week, Keith Wier, attorney at law, and Shannon Miller, principal, at Maurice Wutscher LLC presented The CFPB’s Focus on Medical Debt and Credit Reporting Agencies’ Response: What You Need to Know.

Pursuant to its February 2022 report, the CFPB is taking a particular interest in medical debt, highlighting what it identified as the complicated and burdensome nature of the medical billing system in the U.S.

The presentation explored in-depth both the CFPB’s medical debt report from February 2022 as well as the credit reporting agencies’ proposed policy changes, what impact they will have on the ARM industry and how industry members should use this information.

While the industry can’t forget about the requirements of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act, Miller said the CFPB’s guidance now on the No Surprises Act and medical debt bulletins—including on consumer complaints—are important to talk about with your health care collection clients.

The No Surprises Act has protections for consumers to prevent unexpected medical bills—but compliance lies on the providers, meaning you have to be on the same page with those clients about those processes.

Compliance Management

The CFPB’s actions and expectations rang through the afternoon compliance session with John Bedard Jr., owner of Bedard Law Group, and Rozanne Andersen, vice president, chief compliance officer at Finvi.

Ensure compliance is integrated into your work processes. For example, your dialer should be programmed to not allow more than seven calls in seven days, Bedard said. When the CFPB does an audit of your agency, make sure you have a statistically sound sample of your compliance processes, Andersen added.

The bottom line for compliance: detect, prevent, correct.

Best Practices Among Industry Peers

Harry Strausser III, president of Applied Innovation Inc., led an interactive session on best practices and great ideas. Assisted by Beth Conklin, director of organizational training and development at State Collection Services, and Debra Ciskey, executive vice president of CACi, Strausser asked attendees to share their organizational pain points and burning questions with the group.

Challenges related to remote/in-office/hybrid workplaces dominated the first part of the session, as attendees discussed how they approach each situation and how to solve problems unique to each.

One member noted that in her hybrid workplace (in-office two days a week, remote the rest), she entices staff to work in the office by providing free lunch. “We bought a hot dog steamer, we bring in cold cuts, we’ve done taco salads,” she shared.

Other members said they’ve changed up their approach to the standard work week, offering compressed schedules in which employees can work their 40 hours each week in less than five workdays.

To monitor remote employees’ performance, one member said their company uses keystroke tracking and AI facial recognition to ensure team members are staying on task and complying with security policies.

Members also bounced around ideas related to getting equipment back from remote employees when they leave the company and what to consider in terms of workers’ compensation coverage related to remote staff.

Safeguards Rule

Companies engaged in consumer debt collection have until Dec. 9, 2022, to align their data protection programs with recent regulatory amendments to the Safeguards Rule.

First promulgated in 2002 under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Safeguards Rule regulates the data privacy practices of financial institutions, which covers debt collectors and debt buyers as well as originating creditors.

In a session on the rule, Fred Langston, executive vice president of professional services at Critical Insight, joined Donald Maurice and Brent Yarborough, both principals at Maurice Wutscher LLC, to flag actions ACA members should be taking today to comply.

Changes to the Safeguards Rule impact not only collection agencies, but also the vendors serving them.

Maurice stressed that covered entities should be conducting periodic assessments of their current service providers’ data security policies and procedures. And when you contract with new vendors, you should be asking them what steps they will take to protect the data you send them.

“You have five months to comply with this rule,” he said. “You need to start today.”

Innovation Stage and Convention Schedule

The Expo Hall will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, July 22. Our exhibitors and sponsors are excited to share the industry’s newest technologies and services to help you achieve the results you are looking for. Stop by to meet with these vendors for business solutions and enjoy morning breaks, lunch and ice cream in the Expo Hall throughout ACA’s convention.

Convention: What You Need to Know

With ACA’s flagship event of the year now underway, here are a few other details to guide you through convention—all available in your pocket agenda, provided when you check in or register on-site.

Registration is open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, July 22.

Don’t miss special events such as the awards breakfast Friday morning featuring keynote Dr. Romie Mushtaq on brainSHIFT: 3 Mindful Steps to Break the Stress-Success Cycle.

We are beyond excited to come together as an association with members, vendors and expert speakers during this three-day event, which has something for everyone, from new professionals in the industry to emerging leaders and seasoned collections experts.

Thank you to the 2022 Convention & Expo Sponsors: Provana, QBE, Observe.AI, Balto, Connect International, VoApps, Solutions by Text, Balch & Bingham LLP, Nationwide, Beam Software, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, BillingTree-A REPAY Company, Collectors Insurance Agency, Innovis, Maurice Wutscher, The Work Number from Equifax, Genesys, Interprose, Payscout, Prodigal, Paychex, EFT Network Inc., TEC Services Group, RevSpring, TransUnion, AON, AXIS, CT Corporation, CompuMail, C&R Software, CollectOne and Payment Saavy.

Related Content from ACA International:

ACA’s Convention Starts Strong with Focus on Allies and Leadership

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