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Senators; New York Times Article Highlights Abuses by Treasury Department
Contractors Responsible for Collecting Debts Alleged against Medicare Providers
A recent New York Times article, available here, detailed abuses committed by debt collection agencies contracted by the United States Department of Treasury and its sub-agency, the I.R.S. These abuses were also the subject of a recent letter from multiple United States Senators to the Treasury Department.
Medicare providers may be familiar with the contracted debt collectors named in the article: CBE Group, ConServe, Performant Recovery and Pioneer Credit Recovery.These collection agencies are also charged by Treasury with collecting debts related to alleged overpayments made to Medicare providers.The article noted that these collection agencies had engaged in illegal and abusive collection tactics. Specifically, according to the article, Pioneer made "extraordinarily dangerous" suggestions that debtors use 401(k) funds, home loans and credit cards to pay off their overdue debts.
These allegations should come as no surprise to Medicare providers who have received an alleged overpayment demand.Inevitably, these collection agencies will then follow up with aggressive collection efforts, even where doing so is not permitted by CMS regulations, e.g. if the provider is actively appealing the overpayment determination.As seen from the Times article, these abuses are widespread and must be actively guarded against by providers.
If you or your practice are currently being subjected to a Medicare audit, overpayment demand, or aggressive collection efforts, or you have any questions about the same, feel free to contact the Head of our Audit Defense Practice, Kristina Giyaur, Esq., by phone at 212-668-0200 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.