Collection agencies policies
Last reviewed October 2022
To ensure all debt collection practices are consistent with the Attorney General agreement.
Welia Health will exhaust all measures to arrange a payment plan with patients prior to placing debt with a 3rd party collection agency. Once debt is placed, Welia Health will monitor collection practices of a 3rd party collection agencies acting on behalf of the Health System to ensure practices for debt collection are consistent with the Welia Health’s mission and values.
- On at least an annual basis, the Health System’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) shall review and determine whether to issue to or renew any contract with any third-party debt collection agency. In determining whether to issue or renew any such contract, the Health System CEO shall consider whether the debt collection agency has acted in a manner consistent with their Agreement and with the Health System’s mission, values and policies and applicable laws.
- The Health System shall enter into a written contract with any collection agency utilized by it to collect debt from its patients. The contract shall require the collection agency to act in accordance with the terms of the Agreement with the Attorney General and the applicable laws.
- The Health System shall not refer any patient’s account to a third-party debt collection agency unless the Health System has confirmed that:
- a. There is a reasonable basis to believe that the patient owes the debt;
- b. All known third-party payers have been properly billed by the Health System, such that any remaining debt is the financial responsibility of the patient and provided that the Health System shall not bill a patient for any amount that an insurance company is obligated to pay;
- c. Where the patient has indicated an inability to pay the full amount of the debt in one payment, the Health System has offered the patient a reasonable payment plan, provided that the Health System may require the patient to provide reasonable verification of the inability to pay the full amount of the debt in one payment; and
- d. The patient has been given a reasonable opportunity to apply for Welia Health Benefit Program, if the facts and circumstances suggest that the patient may be eligible for Welia Health’s Benefit Program, including, for example, if the patient is uninsured or is on Minnesota Care, Medical Assistance, or other relief based on need.
- The CFO is authorized to make the determinations required in the prior paragraph, which level may vary based upon the amount of debt.
- The Health System shall not refer any medical debt to a third-party debt collection agency or attorney if the patient has made payments on that debt in accordance with the terms of a payment plan previously agreed to by the Health System.
- If a patient has applied for the Welia Health’s Benefit Program after an account has been referred for collection activity, the Hospital shall suspend all collection activity until the patient’s Welia Health’s Benefit Program application has been processed by the Health System and the Health System has notified the patient of its decision.
- The Health System shall not pay any debt collection agency any performance bonus, contingency bonus, or other similar payment which is calculated on the basis of the amount or percentage of debt collected from two or more patients. This paragraph shall not prohibit the Health System from paying a collection agency a percentage of the debt collected from a particular patient, provided that the Health System shall establish adequate contractual controls to ensure that the collection agency acts in a manner consistent with this Agreement and the Health System’s mission.
- The Health System shall require any third-party debt collection agency and attorney utilized by it to keep a log of all oral and written complaints received by any patient concerning the conduct of the agency. For purposes of this paragraph, a “complaint” is any communication from a patient or patient’s representative in which they express concerns about the conduct of the debt collection agency. The Health System shall obtain a complete copy of the log at least six (6) times per year. The Health System’s contract with the debt collection agency shall state that failure by the agency to log and provide all patient complaints in the manner required by this paragraph may result in termination of the Health System’s contract with the agency.
- The Health System shall require any third-party debt collection agency and attorney utilized by it to keep a record of the date, time, and purpose of all communications to or from its patients.
- If a patient asks any third-party debt collection agency or attorney for the contact information for the Health System, the Health System shall instruct the agency or attorney to provide the patient with the phone number and address described in Billing Services Section VII. The Health System shall not refuse to supply information to or speak with any of its patients on the basis that the account has been placed with a third-party debt collection agency or attorney for collections.
- The Health System shall train its outside debt collection agencies and attorneys about Welia Health’s Benefit Program policy and how a patient may obtain more information about the Welia Health’s Benefit Program policy or apply for Welia Health’s Benefit Program. The Health System shall require its debt collection agencies and attorneys to refer patients who may be eligible for the Welia Health’s Benefit Program to the Health System.
- The Health System shall include the following language on all collection notices sent to patients by it or its third-party debt collection agencies or attorneys, and on all cover letters serving all lawsuits and garnishment papers:
- You have the option to address any concerns with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, which can be reached at 651.296.3353 or 1.800.657.3787.
- The Health System shall print this language with the prominence required for notices under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- Neither the Health System nor its debt collection agencies or attorneys shall report any patient to a credit reporting agency because of that patient’s failure to pay a medical bill.
|Section||Collection Agencies Policies||Effective Date||October 2009|
|Contact||Business Office; Finance||Last Review||October 2022|
|Approved by||Governing Board|
Policy & Procedure Committee
|Next Review||October 2023|
|Reference||Approval Date||October 27, 2022|
|Destination||Business Office; Finance|