We have been notified that collections notices have been sent to a number of our patients by a collections agency working on behalf of the bankrupt estate of a lab company we used to work with, Health Diagnostics Laboratory (HDL). Please know that we are no longer working with HDL and have not worked with HDL for years.
If you are one of the people who has received a collection notice we are truly sorry for the inconvenience that this causes you and can understand the frustration you may be experiencing. If you believe that any collection effort by this agency is in error and that you do not owe the amount being sought, we encourage you to consult your legal counsel.
The stated written policy of HDL had always been to attempt to collect from patients only under very specific circumstances, outlined in this Letter from the CEO of HDL. The only one of one of those circumstances that is likely to apply to our patients is when a patient received a check from their insurance company to cover the labs and did not forward that check to the lab company or did not otherwise pay the lab company the money they were due.
We cannot provide legal advice, and we suggest you consult an attorney, but here are some suggestions for how to respond that we are forwarding from our patients who have also received collections notices.
- In responding to the notice you will want to respond in writing via certified mail within the deadline (usually 30 days) or the collections agency will assume that you owe the amount they say you owe.
- In your initial response you can (and perhaps should) always do the following:
- Dispute the validity of the claim that you owe any debt.
- Ask the collections agency to provide you with whatever evidence they have that indicates to them that you owe a debt.
- You will probably want to contact your insurance company and get the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for the lab claim. Also you will probably want to find out if they sent you a check in the mail, and for what amount, and if they have any record of it being deposited. Note that if your insurance company sent you any money the amount on the check would probably have been considerably less than the amount on the claim.
- In the past our patients have managed to get the collections agency to stop trying to collect by sending the collections agency an EOB for the claim that shows that their insurance company did not send them any money.
- We have also had patients who did receive a check from their insurance company and who accidentally deposited it. In this case they did owe that amount to the lab company.
- You may want to request that the collections agency not try to contact you via phone.
- You may want to remind the collections agency that they cannot legally submit any invalid claim to debt to any credit agency and that you are disputing the validity of this claim.
- Our patients have told us that it is always a good practice to keep copies of the letters you receive and letters you send to the collection agency.
- Example Collections Notice
- Letter from the CEO of HDL
- Sample Letter to Collections Agency 1
- Sample Letter to Collections Agency 2
- Washington Law Help Page
- Washington Department of Licensing Collections Agency Complaint Information Page
- DOL Collections Agency Complaint Form
We will be updating this page regularly as we learn more about what is happening. Please note that we are providing this information as a courtesy to our patients only. In no way should anything contained on this page or in associated links be considered legal advice. Nothing shared here is intended as a suitable replacement for the advice of an attorney.
A special thanks to Evan and Stacy Hirsch at the Hirsch Center for Integrative Medicine for collaborating with us on this issue in support of our greater patient community.