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New Washington Debt Collection Law Requires Itemization Notice for Medical Debt

On April 30, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Substitute House Bill 1531 which places new requirements on medical debt collectors.  The new provisions go into effect July 28, 2019.

The new law requires medical debt collectors to inform consumers in the initial written communication of the right to request the original account number, date of last payment and an itemized statement regarding the debt.  For hospital debt, the communication must also notify consumers they “may be eligible for charity care from the hospital, together with the contact information for the hospital.”

Upon an oral or written request for itemization, a debt collector must cease collection activity until it provides the itemization free of charge.  The itemization must include:

  1. The name and address of the medical creditor;
  2. The date, dates, or date range of service;
  3. The health care services provided to the patient as indicated by the health care provider in a statement provided to the licensee;
  4. The amount of principal for any medical debt or debts incurred;
  5. Any adjustment to the bill, such as negotiated insurance rates or other discounts;
  6. The amount of any payments received, whether from the patient or any other party;
  7. Any interest or fees; and
  8. Whether the patient was found eligible for charity care or other reductions and, if so, the amount due after all charity care and other reductions have been applied to the itemized statement.

The new law also caps the prejudgment interest rate on medical debt at nine percent and, “[f]or any medical debt for which prejudgment interest has accrued or may be accruing as of the effective date of this section, no prejudgment interest in excess of nine percent shall accrue thereafter.”

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Eric Rosenkoetter is a principal at Maurice Wutscher LLP, where he provides counsel to businesses and consumer financial services firms nationwide. For many years, he has focused his practice on various aspects of financial services law. As a litigation attorney, he has conducted every aspect of the litigation process, including countless depositions, motion proceedings, bench and jury trials, and appeals in various courts. In addition, he has significant experience as a compliance and transactional attorney, providing strategic, business growth, legislative, compliance and regulatory advice to national corporations and trade associations. For example, he has drafted consumer contracts and disclosures designed to state-specific statutory requirements, and developed “Best Practices” guides and state-by-state compliance grids, for national financial services companies. He also conducted research and crafted a metrics report for a national trade association with analysis designed to counter the claims of advocacy groups. Eric’s experience also includes working for a national corporation as Executive Counsel, Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer, and Director of Legislative Affairs, and as a federal lobbyist and Director of Government and Public Affairs for a national financial services trade association. In the government sector, Eric presided over approximately 6,000 state administrative hearings, served as a staff attorney for the Missouri Senate, and handled litigation in 33 counties as a regional managing attorney. Eric frequently speaks to audiences on topics relevant to the financial services industry including regulatory compliance, data privacy law and related advocacy initiatives. For more information, see

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