Doctors as Debt Collectors? Healthcare Providers and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act
Beginning in the 1960s, state legislatures across the country enacted consumer protection acts that “were originally designed to supplement the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) mission of protecting consumers from ‘unfair or deceptive acts or practices’ and are referred to as ‘Little-FTC Acts.’”
As the area of consumer collection continues to grow in Florida, various healthcare providers are finding themselves subject to or threatened with a lawsuit for alleged violations of the FCCPA and its federal counterpart. Communications with patients—often sent in accordance with collection policies and procedures, patient agreements, form patient statements, dunning messages, and collection agency contracts—are becoming vehicles for consumer collection claims and exposing healthcare providers to liability. Healthcare providers should become familiar with Florida’s consumer collection laws and implement strategies to increase compliance with and decrease exposure under the FCCPA, FDCPA, and the TCPA.