WA collection agency sued for possible charity care law violation

A Washington state healthcare collection agency is being sued by a law firm for allegedly violating state charity care laws, a case that could become a class action if the firm gets its way. The case hinges on a Washington measure that, among other things, defines individuals and families with annual incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level as officially eligible for hospital charity care with no charges.

Seattle-based Phillips Law Group has filed a suit claiming that healthcare collection firm Audit & Adjustment Company has been misleading patients by telling them they owe the full charges on hospital billing statements. The suit argues that the collections firm is required to tell patients that they might potentially be entitled to charity care that would cut or eliminate their hospital debts.
The suit argues that this behavior violates not only Washington's charity care law, but also the Consumer Protection Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The suit seeks to stop the agency from attempting to collect from charity care-eligible patients, as well as to establish procedures to allow patients to qualify for charity care, and let patients from which it has collected in the past four years become eligible for reductions in their debt.

To learn more about the case:
- read this InsideARM piece

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