EAST IDAHO NEWS — The bill, HB 515, passed the House with 49 votes in favor and 20 votes against with one person abstaining. It now goes to the Senate Business Committee for debate.
The legislation is, in part, a response to medical debt collection practices discovered in east Idaho.
In an investigation conducted by EastIdahoNews.com, the debt collection company Medical Recovery Services — where Rep. Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls, and prominent local Republican Brian Smith both work — was found to be consistently charging debtors supplemental attorney’s fees in amounts significantly more than the original debt.
The Idaho Patient Act would institute new timelines for billing, require transparency in the services being billed to patients, implement deadlines for when providers can send a bill to collections and caps the amount attorneys can receive in supplemental attorney’s fees in medical debt-collection lawsuits.
“We regulate when we see abuses,” Rep. Jason Monks, R-Nampa, said in his closing statements Monday. “We regulate when we see things are unfair. And we regulate when we see things are unjust. In my opinion, there have been some unjust and unfair situations in this state, and this is an attempt to bring that back to some evenness and fairness.”
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