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Unpaid ER Bill -- Got response to Validation Letter claiming they have already reported.

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Hi Folks!

Long time lurker, first time poster!

On Dec 11, 2018 I got a letter from a collection agency for a bill that I did not recognize

It said 


"As required by law, you are hereby notified that a negative credit report will be submitted to a credit reporting agency within the next 30 days if you fail to fulfill the terms of your credit obligations"

I read up on here and on Dec 22nd I  sent them a validation letter stating the following:


I am writing in response to your letter dated Dec 11, 2018 [copy enclosed]. This is the first letter I've received from you on this matter.

Be advised that this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809  that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.

This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you

At this time I will also inform you that if your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the 3 major Credit Bureaus (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) this action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you and your client for the following:

· Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
· Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
· Defamation of Character

 If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested in the following Declaration, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist. Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel for suit. This includes any listing any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated. If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.

At the end of January I received a response from them. The document was dated January 18, 2019, However the postal  stamp on the envelope said Jan 22, 2019, which is 31 days after I send my letter.


Their response said :


Our office is in receipt of your letter of dispute and request for verification  pursuant to 15 USC Section 1692g of FDCPA. Please be advised that we have contacted our client, NAME OF CLIENT, who has confirmed the name and address listed on the account as well as the ammount owed. 
Please be advise that we have reported this dept to consumer reporting agencies, but in acknowledgement of your dispute, we have requested the account to be listed as disputed. Consumer reporting agencies may take up to 30 days or longer to update reports and this is beyond our control


On one hand in the second letter they attached a summary of charges and more information about the Medical billing office that made me recognize this debt. 

On another hand, they totally violated what they said they would do:

  1. They said they reported this debt to the consumer reporting agencies even though they said that i had 30 days to respond and i responded within those 30 days with a verification request that i listed above.
  2. As you can see they did not provide me with verification that I need to indeed pay them, the collection agency vs the actual medical office.


I have about a week to respond -- I would like to pay my dues to the medical office in question, but i also would like to make sure that the debt doesnt go through with its reporting to the consumer reporting agency, especially since i responded to them in time per their request and probably per law.


Any advice would be appreciated.





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Follow the guides;


https://whychat.me/GUIDE HIPAA PROGRAM.html


Send each CRA where this or ANY medical account is reporting this;



If you are absolutely sure that the account amount is valid and you have checked your records and your EOMB to make sure that it wasn't already paid by you or your insurance, and the date of medical service is less than 2 years ago, then pay the OC health care provider with the HIPAA letter insert "a". Be sure to follow ALL the directions.



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thank you for this prompt response! will follow through and report back if there are any issues.


One question however, the response to my validation request from the CA does not provide a "documented current relationship between the Health Care Provider and the reporting CA." other that CA stating that the Health Care Provider is their client and CA providing an itemized list of dates of service, charges and insurance reimbursements along with my supposed account number with the HCP and my contact info.


Do i need for CA to provide a proof of their relationship with HCP first before proceeding with your HIPAA letter?


Did CA violate something by reporting this to CRA before 30 days passed(even though they marked account as disputed)? 

Edited by mychacho

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If the CA provided you with an itemized list of services that is documentation of their current relationship as unless they were in a current business relationship they would not have been able to provide HIPAA privacy protected medical data to you.


You waived the 30 day notice by sending them the validation letter, ( which you probably signed)



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Got it!


In terms of timeline:


I have not seen these medical issues appear on my credit report yet.


Do you recommend waiting until they are found in the CRAs before contacting the provider with the HIPAA letter and a payment? 


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Pay it now and forestall any reporting.


You can use an abbreviated HIPAA letter like this;

(Your Name)
(City,State, zip)
s.s.# (social security #)
HIPAA Compliance Office
( health care provider creditor)
Dear Sir/Madam;
This letter is in reference to (account #) for services provided to (name of patient) on (date of service).

In regard to the bill on this account in the amount of ($___):


Enclosed please find my remittance of ($___) for payment in full of this account.

Please note, my remittance is payable ONLY to (hc provider) and may not be signed over or transferred to any third party collection agency, as this would constitute a violation of HIPAA Privacy Act rules 


HIPAA and the penalty provisions of the ARRA section D privacy provisions and the penalty rules of the HITECH Act as issued 11/30/2009 and the Omnibus Final Rule effective 09/23/2013 and the FACT Act final rules effective July 1, 2010.are in effect in this situation.

The Privacy Rules prohibits a covered entity from using or disclosing an individual's protected health information ("PHI") unless specifically authorized by the individual or otherwise allowed under the Privacy Rules.

In general, PHI encompasses substantially all "individually identifiable health information" that is transmitted or maintained in any medium. "Individually identifiable health information" including information related to an individual's care or the PAYMENT for such care.

Your furnishing of my account information to (collection agency name), is not in compliance with HIPAA, and any subsequent reporting of this account on my credit reports to (credit reporting bureaus) is a clear violation of Public Law 104-191 ("HIPAA") since there can be no permissible business purpose in divulging protected health information to anyone on an account once there is no longer any payment due.


In addition the new Omnibus Final Rule states:when patients pay out of pocket in full, they can instruct their provider to refrain from sharing information.This letter serves as that instruction.

Therefore I am requesting you promptly rescind all such account information furnished to (collection agency) and require them to purge their records of all reference to this account, and that you insure that any and all reporting or future reporting of this account on my credit reports is prohibited.

Please respond, in writing within 10 days that you are processing this request.

I am reserving the right, to take appropriate legal and civil action including reporting to any applicable regulatory authorities any lack of cooperation or compliance with this request.

(Your Name)


Make sure you use a BANK MONEY ORDER and add the restrictive endorsement on the back "for deposit only account of (name of OC)".

Make a copy of the front and back of the money order

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