Collector - July/Aug 2021 - 16

News
TECH TIP
ADVOCATE
QUICK TAKES
FACT FINDER
CALENDAR
IAF
8TH CIRCUIT
COURTS
* Arkansas
* Iowa
* Minnesota
* Missouri
* Nebraska
* North Dakota
* South Dakota
assistance policy, the court determined that
501(r) regulations required the hospital to
include its fi nancial assistance policy in its
billing statements, rather than the collection
agencies. (Emphasis added).
Accordingly, the 8th Circuit affi rmed the
lower court's grant of summary judgment
in the debt collectors' favor and dismissed
the 501(r) claim because it applies solely to
health care providers, not collection agencies,
and there was no connection to the FDCPA.
Th e court reasoned that the two collection
agencies, TAG and CMLP, were
separate entities from the hospital, and
it assigned only its ability to collect debts
to the debt collectors, not its medical
billing function.
Further, the court asserted that the record
showed the hospital notifi ed the consumer
about the charity care policy prior to her
receipt of the collection letters, and " [the
FDCPA] does not impute [the hospital's]
responsibility to comply with Treasury Department
medical billing regulations to debt
collectors working on its behalf. "
Attorneys from ACA member company
Malone Frost Martin PLLC represented
TAG and CMLP in the appeal.
ATTORNEY GENERAL AGREEMENT
Importantly, at all relevant times, the hospital
had an agreement with the Minnesota
Attorney General requiring the hospital
to enter written contracts with third-party
debt collection agencies and requiring that
such contracts comply with the 501(r)
federal regulations by requiring the hospital
to confi rm that the patient was given
a reasonable opportunity to apply for
charitable care.
What is the Industry Advancement Fund?
If your agency needs fi nancial support to fi ght a claim, ACA's Industry
Advancement Fund (IAF) can help. ACA's Judicial Committee has standing
authority to award an ACA member up to $25,000 in traditional IAF support,
subject to certain conditions set forth in the application.
Learn more: www.acainternational.org/industry-advancement-fund
Chris Meier, general counsel and chief
compliance offi cer for Th e CMI Group and
a Members Attorney Program committee
member with ACA, weighed in on the
case outcome.
" What's most important for agencies
is that the court had the opportunity
to extend the Minnesota attorney
general's order to third parties and
vendors but declined to do so, " Meier
said. " We are extremely pleased that
the 8th Circuit reached the conclusion
that debt collection agencies are not
'hospital organizations' under 26 CFR
1.501(r) and therefore are not obligated
to provide patients with the hospital's
fi nancial assistance policies. We are also
relieved that the court opted not to
extend the Minnesota attorney general's
agreement with the hospital to us as
its agency given that we were never
a party to that negotiated resolution.
We thank the Malone Frost Martin
fi rm for their representation on this
matter as well as ACA International
for its commitment to helping its
membership fi ght back against
meritless and misguided lawsuits. "
Read more about the case here:
http://bit.ly/klein-affi liated.
16
acainternational.org
http://www.acainternational.org/industry-advancement-fund http://www.bit.ly/klein-affiliated http://www.acainternational.org

Collector - July/Aug 2021

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