Sunday, September 20, 2015

FCC Guidance on Cellphones Puts the
Squeeze on Medical Debt Collectors

In July, the FCC released an order it touted as strengthening “consumer protections against unwanted calls and texts.” It was a series of rulings based on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act meant to clarify the use of autodialers, procedures for wrong numbers and consent to call, mainly concerning cellphones.  Under these new regulations, healthcare providers must get express written consent to be able to contact patients on their mobile phones about medical debt and billing.

The problem for medical debt collectors is that they are required to confirm that they have received express consent before using an autodialer to contact a cellphone. If they call a cellphone number that has been reassigned, they have a one-call safe harbor to receive constructive notice that the number has been reassigned or is the wrong number.