Healthcare Provider Sued in Medical Debt Collection Case

The case stems from the provider’s alleged lack of prior express consent when contacting a consumer that is prohibited under the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling and Order on the TCPA.

California healthcare provider Prospect Medical Group faces allegations in a class-action lawsuit  that include using an auto dialer to call a patient on her cell phone about a past-due bill without prior express consent. The case against Prospect Medical Group’s Southern California Hospital at Culver City stems from the Federal Communications Commission’s Declaratory Ruling and Order, which includes an added layer of compliance changes in the medical debt collection field, last July.

Modern Healthcare reported Friday that a complaint has not been issued against Prospect Medical, and the company issued a general statement that “it follows the necessary practices to obtain consent to call patients on their cellphones.”

Prospect Medical Group is one of the first providers to face a lawsuit of this nature since the FCC released its order in July, according to Modern Healthcare.

The FCC will allow numbers dialed by mistake one time, but collectors could face fines or penalties under the new order after that, ACA previously reported.

ACA and other petitioners filed suit in July to challenge the FCC’s authority and the unlawful, arbitrary and capricious provisions of its TCPA Order. The petitioners in the ACA Int’l case argue that the FCC went far beyond Congress’s original intent when redefining statutory terms to expand the scope of the TCPA, roping in normal legal business contact with customers and violating the due process and free speech rights of companies. 

Consumer TCPA cases against debt collectors have steadily increased over the years: In 2007, there were only 14 TCPA cases; the number increased significantly to 354 three years later in 2010. The next year, the cases spiked to 840 and to more than 1,000 starting in 2012.