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9 STEPS TO BUYING A NEW PHONE SYSTEM STAYING OPTIMISTIC IN A WORLD OF COMPLIANCE UNKNOWNS THE STUDENT DEBT CRISIS: WHERE WE ARE THE SENSITIVE NATURE OF MEDICAL COLLECTIONS SOFT COLLECT

September/October 2016 Vol. 16, No. 5

25 MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN COLLECTIONS

TRACING ON STUDENT LOAN DEBT

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MEDICAL COLLECTIONS

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Ron Brown

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September/October 2016

e m o c l e W T

here are many women who have had great and welcome influence over this industry. Whether it be in an agency, law firm or at a tradeshow, these people have been fighting for a more compliant and prosperous collection environment. This issue recognizes these thought leaders as the Most Influential Women in Collections. As featured in the esteemed group of Influential Women is Compliance Advisor Debra J. Ciskey who is an optimist and states why it is healthy to be one in today’s debt collection environment. Skip Tracing Advisor Ron Brown walks us through the waterfall skip tracing technique for student loan consumers and how to spend as little time and money as possible. Legal Collection Advisor Fred N. Blitt discusses how student loan debt is growing and the legal restraints a collection professional should be aware of before making the first call. Benchmark Advisor Harry A. Strausser III highlights the benefits of trade organizations and describes several that will fit various collection professionals’ needs. Agency Advisor Sam Eidson recaps the sensitive nature of medical debt collection. According to Collection Advisor’s 2015 Reader Survey, 85% of readers requested training courses with quizzes for updates on compliant collection practices. Therefore, this issue offers the Collection Compliance Education (CCE) program. The quiz covers compliance information presented in this issue of Collection Advisor as well as general information for collection professionals. Upon submission of a completed quiz, assuming a passing score, the collection professional will be emailed a certificate indicating that he or she is dedicated to continuing their compliance education. Next issue Collection Advisor will be focusing on telecom and mortgage debt collection and exploring their unique traits. Until next time, we look forward to hearing from you.

T. Steel Rose CPA, ACS Editor

editor@collectionadvisor.com

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USING TECHNOLOGY TO EMPOWER COLLEC TIONS September/October 2016

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Volume 16, No. 4

FEATURES

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AGENCY ADVISOR

The Sensitive Nature of Medical Collections Sam Eidson 6

LEGAL COLLECTION ADVISOR The Student Debt Crisis: Where We Are Fred N. Blitt 8

COMPLIANCE ADVISOR Staying Optimistic in a World of Compliance Unknowns Debra J. Ciskey

9 Steps to Buying a New Phone System

GORDON BECK

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25 Most Influential Women in Collections

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JOSHUA FLUEGEL

18

Agency Spotlight Calder Willingham, president of Creditors Bureau Associates

Collection Compliance Education Program

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Medical Collections: Collection Software Eases Burden of Medical Debt Compliance Comparison Chart

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SKIP TRACING ADVISOR Tracing on Student Loan Debt Ron Brown

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BENCHMARK ADVISOR Solving Miserable Uncertainty Harry A. Strausser III

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REVENUE CYCLE MANAGEMENT ADVISOR Soft Collect

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25 MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN COLLECTIONS

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Welcome

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The Sensitive Nature of Medical Collections

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As we continue to age it becomes more difficult to have a clean bill of health. Whether it be you or one of your loved ones that experience a medical hardship, it can be very difficult to cope. It seems inevitable that an unexpected health issue will arise leading to a visit to a medical professional followed by bills. While both medical and credit debt can affect your credit report, there are a few unique differences between the two types of debt. Patients don’t always have a choice when it comes to healthcare like they do when applying for credit. The medical service is needed in order to get well again. In most cases there isn’t a contract or predetermined payment plan when one incurs medical debt. Once the bill is sent the balance is due in full unless an arrangement is made with the provider. Patients are faced with using their savings accounts, taking on credit card debt and even bankruptcy in order to resolve their unpaid medical debts. The biggest difference for a consumer is: medical debt can only negatively affect their credit rating. Over two decades ago I began my collection career working as a collector for a mom and pop medical collection agency. I quickly began to realize medical debt applied to everyone. While at the agency I collected on debts owed by professional athletes, friends, family and even a schoolteacher I had growing up. Their account could have been placed in collections for many different reasons: lack of insurance, billing errors or not understanding how their deductible and copay works. It was my job to find out why the account had not been paid and find a solution to resolve the patient’s account. Once the reason for delinquency had been identified I would either educate the consumer as to why they were responsible to pay the debt or I would file a UB92 form with their health insurance provider. The UB92 has since been replaced with the UB04 and while most healthcare providers and insurance companies continue to use the UB92, Medicare and Medicaid will no longer accept the older form. How we collect medical debt has changed quite a bit over the last couple of decades. Collectors have to carefully determine if the consumer has a legitimate billing issue due to how their insurance or financial assistance claim was filed. If not, they must overcome the consumer’s objection while avoiding a potential complaint. Collectors still want to take an empathetic approach, show compassion and remain respectful but also be assertive and well versed in financial assistance programs offered by the provider, charity programs, insurance billing and all healthcare regulatory requirements. It’s our job as collectors to turn difficult circumstances into positive experiences. If you’ve visited a medical professional over the last few years you may have noticed service providers’ office personnel

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Agency Advisor Sam Eidson

will check for healthcare coverage and even collect their copay prior to providing treatment. The healthcare providers have had to train their personnel in order to increase the likelihood of getting paid for their service. I’ve listed a few suggestions for agencies and their collectors to remember when collecting medical debt: • Collectors and their agencies must comply with 501(r), which prohibits extraordinary collection activity before making reasonable efforts to determine whether a patient is eligible for financial assistance. A few examples of extraordinary collection activity include legal action, reporting adverse information to the credit bureau and selling the debt. • It’s important to properly train collectors on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act which was created to protect patients’ private information. You should frequently monitor how collectors document patients’ account and communication with third parties including spouses and attorneys to avoid disclosing personal or private medical conditions. • The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was put in place with the purpose of implementing the use of electronic health records. While collectors do not directly fall under the scope of the HITECH Act, it’s still important that we protect the privacy and security of all electronic health records. • Create a culture in your organization where your collectors show genuine empathy, professionalism and respect to the individual on the other end of the phone. We have found those three traits not only help avoid complaints but they also help increase collections. Sam Eidson is the Director of Compliance for Delta Outsource Group, Inc. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Collectors Association. September/October 2016

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The Student Debt Crisis: Where We Are

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Many believe that the next great financial crisis in America involves the enormous size and volume of student loan debt being acquired by our nation’s young adults. In a recent Bloomberg article titled “The Lawsuit Machine Going After Student Debtors,” it is stated student loans have surpassed credit cards to become the second-largest source of outstanding debt in the United States, leaving them only after mortgages. In fact, since 2007 the federal student loan balance has more than doubled, to almost $1.2 trillion from $516 billion. The current state of the job market in the United States is news to no one and recent college graduates are facing harsh employment realities while carrying the burden of what can seem like insurmountable debt. With these pressures come defaults followed by an increased flow of legal debt collection matters.

Firm Claim Practices

With student loan defaults on the rise, increased concern turns to the record keeping by the creditors. While student loans are generally written contracts which provide superior proofs at trial and in many states, a longer statute of limitations, it also can lead to documentation concerns. First, many student loans are deferred while the student attends graduate or professional school. Economic or medical circumstances, military or service as a teacher might forgive some of the debt or defer payment on it. As a result, payments may never have been made or appear to have been made so long ago the case appears out of statute. Your internal process may need to accommodate these circumstances. Evidence of a deferment and a payment history may be required for placement review on a file. Second, bankruptcy, in most cases, only puts the loan(s) in abeyance; it does not discharge them. As a result, your standard vendor scrubs that locate a bankruptcy will need to be tweaked and reviewed in light of this unique wrinkle in student loans. Third, issues of venue and guarantees challenge the firm to determine who should be sued and where, as a consumer might reside in Illinois but the parent co-borrower lives in another state. Finally, as certain original lenders pool loans into asset-based securities that are purchased by trusts who administer them throughout the life of the loan, including while the loan is in good standing, traditional notions of original creditor versus debt buyer have to be put aside when determining the proper party plaintiff.

Utilization of Collection Firms

Collecting on these accounts may be challenging. In most cases, the consumer is a young person having trouble finding work and his parents, nearing retirement who don’t have the resources avail-

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Legal Collection Advisor Fred N. Blitt

able to pay these loans. Likewise, many are hard debts for many consumers to accept as in many cases these lingering loans are reminders of frustrated expectations and dreams. For that reason, it is important to assure you and your student loan clients have open communications on settlement parameters, including graduated payment plans that recognize the hopeful short term financial woes of the consumer but allows for potential positive changes going forward. I have found most students want to pay these loans but are just having trouble right now. As always, despite the negative press, debt collection law firms are well suited to be the conduit to help students get back on their feet. Contrary to what many publications say, we want to speak to these consumers to help resolve their student debt issues either prior to going to court or during the litigation process.

The Future

More and more emphasis will be placed on student loan collections by regulatory agencies. This is a natural progression given the CFPB and other agencies contend that one out of four student loan borrowers are in default. At this point, much of the discussion is directed to the servicers of these loans. However, given the recent activity of the CFPB in the area of legal debt collection, I am confident changes will be on the way. In my mind this may not be a bad thing. However, this only addresses the tail end of the issues. We all know today’s cost of education is extraordinary and showing no signs of slowing down. Perhaps Congress, the CFPB and the Department of Education might be better tasked to determine why college costs so much and how to make it more affordable…even for the people who collect debt for a living! Fred N. Blitt, Esq., is a partner with Blitt and Gaines, PC in Illinois and Couch, Conville and Blitt in Louisiana. He is past president of NARCA. September/October 2016

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9 STEPS TO BUYING A NEW PHONE SYSTEM BY GORDON BECK

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ot long ago my agency was faced with the daunting task of upgrading and replacing a phone system that we had all grown to KNOW and love (notice Gordon Beck I emphasized know). At the end of the day, that is the hardest part of getting away from something you are so used to using and so accustomed to operating with, building your infrastructure around and trouble shooting in times of functional travesties. Our call center lives center around two main “organs� in our operational bodies, our heart and our brain if you

will. The brain being how we dial and operate in terms of compliance and our heart, which is the platform or system with which we dial. In the end, the heart is the most important because without our heart (the phone system) there is no need for the brain (which is compliance in how we do it). When opening up our fourth location in the fall of this year we were in a position that was somewhat unexpected. As we were working with our hardware, software and telephony providers it was brought to our attention that we could not expand our existing telephone system. Rather, we could, but it would not be supported under our existing platform

due to the expiration of the service and support system on which our platform was based. As you can imagine, this scared me to death. I was basically told that not only was I now looking into the gaping jaws of a very large bill for a new system, but in the meantime, if my system were to crash and burn, it could not be fixed. In the four months that it took to find, purchase, receive and implement our new system I woke up every morning with unparalleled paranoia that this could be the day that we go down with no hope of return. However, I also had the peace of mind that I was one day Continued on page 9


Staying Optimistic in a World of Compliance Unknowns ROUTING SLIP “It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily. “So it is.” “And freezing.” “Is it?” “Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.” - A.A. Milne

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I am an optimist. I get out of bed every morning with a smile on my face – after all, I get to see another morning! And we haven’t an earthquake lately! It is hard to be an optimist among pessimists. Conversations about the future of our industry often have a pessimistic bent. Admittedly, it can be difficult to be an optimist when you are in charge of receiving, investigating, resolving and responding to complaints about your company. Just when you think you are caught up, in come more complaints. Pessimism, I believe, is built on a fear of the unknown. Right now, there are many unknowns facing the collection industry, including the largest unknown – will our industry exist in 10 years? Our work lives are fraught with unknowns: How many complaints will I get today? Will they be justified or false? Will I get served with a lawsuit today, and will we be able to defend it? Will I get a call from a regulator who decides it is time to audit my company? Will my collectors be able to reach any consumers today, and if they do, will they conduct themselves properly in the process of collecting a debt? Will our clients stick by us when we change practices to meet regulatory expectations? And how are we supposed to know what the regulatory expectations are when the rules aren’t published? We may not like the indirect method that our federal regulator uses to communicate with our industry – it feels impersonal and almost passive-aggressive. Regulating through enforcement actions and supervisory examinations allows the regulator to attempt to institute changes in industry practices without using the formal processes in place for publication of rules, and that feels like an end-run to us. This approach requires us to infer and make assumptions about the practices of the companies against whom enforcement actions are brought, because we are not privy to the details of the investigation. How can we know whether our practices match the practices of the company who signed a consent agreement? To what degree do they match? Supervisory bulletins follow the same pattern. The most recent report, published in March, 2016, reported recently that supervisory activities resulted in $14.3 million in restitution to more than a quarter of a million consumers. Restitution was made by debt collectors, mortgage originators, and deposit in-

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stitutions. No details are provided, leading us only to speculate. The same bulletin described several issues it observed and directed debt collectors to correct during supervisory examinations. These issues included the failure to honor consumers’ notification to the debt collector that they refuse to pay a debt or to cease communication with them, and the use of false, deceptive or misleading representations regarding garnishment in connection with the collection of student loan debt. While few details are provided, this information should trigger a review of our policies and procedures in our offices related to these key compliance areas, and a review of the performance of duties related to them. Consider whether you have added staff or transferred duties so inexperienced people are handling these duties. Has an increase in workload had an effect on the ability of staff to properly follow procedures? If nothing else, the supervisory reports can serve as a catalyst to look under the covers, even if the result is a stronger sense of confidence that we really are doing things right. It still feels like fishing in the dark, doesn’t it? Don’t forget that the issuer of these reports expects us to infer expectations from the sections of the report that are not directly descriptive of our industry. Fishing in the dark with a bamboo pole in a rubber life raft in the Pacific Ocean without a life preserver. How can I remain an optimist in the midst of these unknowns? I still like to think that legitimate debt collectors are problem solvers. Most of us want to do the right thing. We accept the challenge, identify and correct wrongs, and demonstrate our best efforts. Rather than begrudgingly going along to get along, we can seek new tools, develop new processes, and find common ground with our regulators that will elevate us to new levels of performance for our clients and satisfaction for consumers. I’m not waiting for my earthquake, and I’m hoping I can prevent it. Debra Ciskey is the Compliance Officer at Wakefield & Associates. Inc. She is a member of the board of directors and a certified instructor for ACA International. September/October 2016

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“Internet I.P. phone systems are the future of call center dialing technology.” 9 Steps to Buying a New Phone System Continued from page 7 closer to my replacement. This is the type of up and down mental roller coaster that we want to try and prevent and something every collection professional should know: Don’t be caught unprepared and know what to expect when going through the daunting process of finding your new phone system! The following 9 steps will provide you a 40,000-foot view of what you need to know and expect when purchasing your new system. Keep in mind, each call center has a unique infrastructure so this article isn’t long enough to discuss every little detail, but it should give you a very good idea of not only what to expect, but also what you can expect to spend.

1. It is absolutely vital you have a

failures. Stewart Bray, the main contact at our local service provider says, “When researching the best phone systems it is vital to look for the best software solution, but be careful of the flashy power points and sales pitches. Be very aware of the software version, don’t be someone’s guinea pig.”

3. Go with an I.P. Platform Many exist-

ing call centers that have had their current phone system for three years or longer are most likely on an analog or digital product. Manufacturers are steering clear of these systems because technology is driving them to the internet. I.P. phone systems are the future of call center dialing technology and will pave the way in terms of future platforms as well. Don’t go backward in time, go forward with the future. It will save your company thousands down the road.

local company that can walk you through this process. There are too 4. Set Up your Infrastructure You will

want POE Network switches to start. POE, meaning Power Over Ethernet, will allow you to power the phone through the Ethernet cable and will also provide you with your connection to the phone for dialing capability. HP is a well-known brand for these switches which must be programmed to support VoIP infrastructure and they run about $6,000 per switch. One switch will service 48 work stations so a 500 seat call center will require 12, 11 to run the floor with 1 back up. This will cost approximately $72,000.

5. Cabling When

making calls through the internet it is vital for the fastest speeds, ensuring the best call quality. The cabling is the most critical component in making this happen. CAT 5E cabling or better is recommended, but CAT 6 is preferred. This wiring will prove to be necessary because it will determine the call Continued on page 11

many moving parts and it is very easy to get gouged if you are relying on the hardware/software company to give you the best advice. This local company should be contracted on a permanent basis to not only service the system, but to aid in the negotiation process, installation of the wiring and hardware as well as the programming of the software. Most phone system providers will provide additional training on new products to your local service provider.

2. Find the Product Your local support

company will aid in this process. You want to find an established provider, not so much with the actual hardware, but the software. There are many fly by night retailers and tons of “new” software out there. You will want to check references and ensure that the company has dealt in actual call centers, not just commercial accounts. Pay very close attention to software versions. If you see version 1.1, for instance, beware. This means it is very new software that has not had all the bugs worked out. There are not many call centers out there that can afford downtime so it is absolutely critical that you find out the company’s “mean-time” between July/August 2015 www.CollectionAdvisor.com .com September/October 2016

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Tracing on Student Loan Debt ROUTING SLIP Initials

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In this issue we will take a look at tracing on student loan debt. Again, as in all tracing endeavors, there must be a starting point and as I have stated many times previously, when tracing, to go forward you must first go backward. Let’s explore how the professional tracer can locate student loan consumers utilizing what the industry refers to as the “waterfall technique.” The first thing the tracer must establish with student loan debt is liability. Who is actually responsible for the debt? Is there joint liability? This action is accomplished by going back to the origination documents of the indebtedness for basic information. In many cases the tracer will find the parents of the student are guarantors on the debt and the parents are usually much easier to locate than the student. Three items which are of upmost importance to the tracer when working student loans are, 1) the original application, which will usually list the parents, their address and their phone numbers; 2) the original contract or copy thereof to ascertain parties with liability on the debt; and 3) the information document which will contain the last educational institution the student attended. In many cases this will also include the student’s degree which might be an indicator of what job market they entered after graduating or discontinuing their education. Once these documents are obtained and analyzed for data extraction, I believe in taking the course of least resistance, the first level of the waterfall, efforts which require no expenditure of funds, only time and labor. In most cases that is contacting parents and relatives listed on the original application. This endeavor will often provide the tracer with information related to the consumer’s current residence, employment and contact numbers. I would call your attention to the fact that when contacting third parties at this point in the attempt to gain location information, conversations are kept to a minimum with the informants with very little in depth conversation and no usage of neuro-linguistic questioning techniques. Cases requiring continued efforts warrant my next step which is utilizing the information I have accumulated and go online through alumni.com and/or classmates.com to peruse the online college annuals and alumni directories. These sources can contain photographs as well as information related to the student such as social or academic associations they might have belonged to as well as any sports or extra-curricular activities in which the student may have been involved. Each bit of information the tracer discovers is another piece of the puzzle that could

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link everything together providing current location information. I have found there is always a lot of information that can be gleaned from these online sources which allow an astute tracer to gain insight into the consumer’s persona. If my attempts to locate the consumer have proved futile I must move to the next level of the waterfall. At this level I will go back to my data and again contact relatives and references, this time utilizing neuro-linguistic questioning techniques (as explained in previous articles) developed over many years of extracting information from informants. These advanced questioning techniques have yielded very good results and in many cases provided the information required to locate the consumer. Keep in mind that up to this point there have been no monetary expenditures, only time and effort. If all the previous efforts have still yielded no positive results it is time to move on to the final stage of the waterfall technique. Spend some money and utilize the various “pay sites” provided by the data brokers who accumulate consumer data and store the information in their electronic repositories. We have discussed several of these data brokers in the past such as TLO, Tracers, Inc. and CLEAR. I use a formula when selecting the data broker I use first, second and third. The decision is based on prior experience related to where I feel the consumer is residing, the consumer’s age, background and the vocation I feel the student has chosen. As you can see, tracking the traces of the consumers who have a student loan debt is always a challenge and has the potential to be another exciting adventure for the professional tracer. Until the next issue…good luck and good hunting! Ron Brown is a member of the National Association of Fraud Investigators and the author of “MANHUNT: The Book.” Contact him at rbrown2150@aol.com. September/October 2016

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“Make your calls in a VoIP environment with very low per-minute usage.” 9 Steps to Buying a New Phone System Continued from page 9 quality, delays and functionality within the phone system. The wiring, adapters, plugs, crimping, labor, etc. will run you about $150-200K for a 500 seat center. This is the most extensive part of the process so it must be logistically planned over a long weekend to avoid down time.

6. Controllers This terminology describes

the servers that will power the software system. For best call quality we have found it is best to have one controller for every 100 users. You can do more than this, but will risk latency. For a 500-seat center you will need seven controllers to ensure you have two redundant backups. A controller will cost approximately $8,000 a piece and one user license will be about $175. There will also be other licensing involved, including SIP trunk licensing and other software licensing that is dependent upon the system you purchase.

piece and do not guarantee lifetime storage. It is recommended that you utilize an outside VoIP source for your long distance calling, such as LiveVox, that will not only make your calls in a VoIP environment with very low per-minute usage, but will also record and store all of your outgoing and incoming calls. They will store the recordings for as long as you are willing to pay and when that storage expires you can copy all calls on disc and archive them for future usage. For PCI compliance, you can contract with a speech analytics organization that can work with LiveVox to redact credit card numbers from the recordings before they are stored. As you can see, finding and purchasing a new phone system is not easy to do. As a matter of fact, it’s hard, but we all know that nothing with a great result was easy to accomplish. All in all, for a 500-seat call center, you can

expect to spend anywhere from $450,000 to $700,000 and this depends on many factors such as the quality of the cabling to the amount of redundancy you want in your environment. Being successful at finding the right local company with the knowledge to guide you through this purchase is the most important part of the process. We all know that the phones are our tool to drive the money. You never want to be behind your competitors, or worse, operating on a system that is no longer supported. In our world, without our phones, we have nothing. Gordon Beck is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing officer for Diversified Consultants, Inc. headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. DCI is a telecom specific collection agency specializing in the recovery of Wireless, Landline, Cable, Satellite, Internet, VoIP and Home Security Systems.

7. Tracking Software

This is better known as the “Call Center Suite” that allows you to track and monitor all incoming and outgoing calls, both internal and external. All reporting is done by this software to monitor usage and functionality on your floor. This software is $20,000.

8. Phones Mitel is a great product, they

have excellent functionality for a call center environment and as most phone companies provide, they have phones for agent level all the way up to executive level that range in cost from $300 to $500 a piece. If you find phones for less than $250, be cautious as the quality, warranty and serviceability will be undoubtedly second rate. Naturally the phone system needs to be compatible with the software that is installed and configured on the controllers.

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9. Call Recording

It is not recommended to house a premise-based platform for recording. For starters, just from sheer volume, a 500-seat center would need at least two recording servers. This includes the backup and they cost about $80,000 a .com

September/October 2016

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Solving Miserable Uncertainty

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We have addressed numerous topics in this column over the past five years. Our goal has been to share ideas of common concern among operators at all levels of the collections industry. As the industry becomes more and more complicated, frustrations continue to mount for those who own, manage and supervise in collection offices across the country. There is a frequent concern about the fact that “we don’t know what we don’t know.” That is the dynamic that keeps us up at night. It is very difficult to keep tabs on the ever-changing landscape but we are fortunate to have many resources available to assist with keeping our operations up to date on important matters. We just have to make a commitment to expend the time and resources required. Much to my dismay there are many operators that keep their heads in the sand and blindly plod forward hoping to “get things right.” That culture will no longer keep a firm from eventually sinking. We have to be proactive and search out the education required to assist with the navigation of turbulent waters of change. I was reading an article recently that shared a quote by Mark Twain in which he proclaimed, “Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.” That phrase, “miserable uncertainty” seems to be very appropriate in defining the state of our industry. What assistance do we have?

Trade Associations

Virtually every industry has a trade association that represents their best interests and carries the torch relative to legislative agendas. We are very fortunate to have ACA International (www.acainternational.org) as a resource for credit and collection professionals. I realize most of our readers are aware of ACA but this is a reminder that there is no better place to secure the information you need in our industry. ACA offers many educational programs via webinar formats and presents the Spring Forum, Fall Forum and the large national convention every summer. Far too few take advantage of these programs. Additionally, there are 40 chapters/units of ACA if you would like involvement on the state or regional level. Many of these units offer annual meetings and joint conferences with other chapters. If you have interests in the debt purchase market, DBA International (www.dbainternaional.org) offers specific direction and advice to those in that sector. DBA International provides its members with extensive networking, educational, and business development opportunities in asset classes that span numerous industries. The association publishes a bi-annual magazine and newsletter, provides educational and networking opportunities at major forums, events and conferences, represents the membership before federal and state agencies, and supports the industry where appropriate in appellate cases. They offer a popular conference in Las Vegas every February.

Regional Meetings 12

One of the most popular regional

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Benchmark Advisor Harry A. Strausser III

collection conferences is the Northeast Debt Collection Expo often held in Atlantic City in September/October annually. They offer a great educational platform, networking with industry peers and attendance by well know speakers. You can find more information on the NEDCE at http://nyscollect.org/events.html.

Other Industry Conferences/Resources

Inside ARM: Publishing since 2000, insideARM has amassed an engaged audience of executives within collection agencies and law firms, debt buyers, creditors, suppliers of technology and services, regulators, investors, and other interested parties. (www.insidearm.com)

Debt Connection Symposium and Expo: With collections, com-

pliance, and accountability as their educational focus, the conference is geared for collections, recovery, and debt sales professionals from creditors, healthcare, collection agencies, collection attorney firms, credit unions, debt buyers, and related industry vendors. (www.debtconnectionsymposium.com) The resources above are just a sampling of the many educational opportunities in our industry. As a reader/subscriber to Collection Advisor we know you rely on the timely content of this publication for vital industry advice and updates. Every firm or collection department should have a firm line item on their P&L statement allotting resources for key management to get the best education possible. Miserable uncertainty may define our current culture as an industry but you have control of the power of education in your organization. We encourage our readers to submit a “best practice” idea for inclusion in this column. Until next time, I’m in a collection office near you! Harry A. Strausser III is president of Remit Corporation/ Interact Training & Development. Contact him at harry@ remitcorp.com. September/October 2016

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COLLECTION INDUSTRY TOP PRODUCT NOMINEES High-End Collection Software

Maiden Payments | Maiden Payments | maidenpayments.com 877-561-1181

CDS Software | CollectOne | collectone.com | 888-816-3333

MoneyGram | ExpressPayment | moneygram.com | 800-723-9777

DAKCS Software Systems | Beyond.net | dakcs.com | 800-873-2527

PaidSuite | PaidSuite | paidsuite.com | 702-527-8495

FICO | Debt Manager 9 (DM9) | fico.com | 800-999-2955

PDCflow | PDCflow Payment Processing | pdc4u.com | 877-732-4814

Ontario Systems | Artiva Agency | ontariosystems.com | 800-283-3227

Payment Savvy | PaymentSavvy | paymentsavvy.com | 866-303-2558 Paymentus | Paymentus | paymentus.com | 905-882-8020

Electronic Payment APS (Powered by Payscout) | APS | apsofga.com | 800-482-4561 Applied Innovation | PayStream | appliedinnovationinc.com 800-589-5651

PaySimple | PaySimple | paysimple.com | 800-466-0992 RevSpring | RevSpring | revspringinc.com | 866-536-2376

Virtual Collections

Autoscribe | PaymentVision | paymentvision.com | 800-345-7243

AES | Agent Emulation | aestrue.com | 562-513-3700

BillingTree | BillingTree | mybillingtree.com | 877-424-5587 EFT Network | EFT Network | eftnetwork.com | 800-492-2794

Applied Innovation | PayStream | appliedinnovationinc.com 800-589-5651

D+H | D+H | dh.com | 800-815-5592

Debt Resolve | settl.it | debtresolve.com | 914-949-5500

InterProse | WebAR | interprose.com | 800-666-3947

InterProse | WebAR | interprose.com | 844-224-1135

One vendor. All the solutions.

.com

September/October 2016

13


Soft Collect ROUTING SLIP

T

Collectors have been searching for a softer collection method for decades. Many have been false promises. Virtual collections debuted with great promise in 2006. It has taken 10 years to show effectiveness. I saw a new hopeful solution to soft collections this past year at annual conventions for DBA International, ACA International and ACA of Texas. A few new companies and one well-known company offered email and text messaging to remind customers of payments due. This method is gaining ground when servicing first party accounts, and with proper permissions is utilized by early adopter third party agencies as well. When the TCPA rule from telemarketing was applied to collection calls a huge groan could be heard from sensible business people. Now, after several years of obtaining permissions to use cell phones and email messages as collection reminders, the process is beginning to make sense again. This comes at a good time. Several countries use cell phones predominantly. The U.S. is following suit. According to industry veteran, Rob Fite, “50% have mobile phones instead of landlines and 94% of households have mobile phones.” Fite spent significant time with FICO and LexisNexis. Fite says, “75% have smartphones, which means web access to a payment portal.” This enables sending a test message to a customer so they may self-cure their debt. Speaking of London Bridge, I ran into Jim Crawford, from London Bridge software before it was acquired by FICO. Crawford has joined VoApps, which is another TCPA solution gaining traction. The VoApps product drops the collection call phone number on a voice mailbox, which does not reside on a cell phone. Customers then return the call. What was considered controversial has gained traction and imitators have begun to pop up. Call recording and call analytics are advancing to the point where the system can understand the debtors comments and “suggest the next statement a collector should make,” according to Anne Pacifico with Castel Communications. When compliance auditors arrive, you are able to show how a collector deals with a situation, and even, “provide a real-time score of a call,” says Pacifico. Electronic payment is an essential tool for collections. Even though NACHA approved one-day settlement for ACH payments, it will only speed up payroll this year. “ACH may not improve other payments until 2018,” according to Dave Yohe, VP at Billing Tree. Every couple of years some agencies lose their ability to process payments because of a decision

14

Initials

Date

Revenue Cycle Management Advisor T. Steel Rose, Editor

made by a payment vendor or payment portal. A solution to this is to work with a payment processor who is, “settlement agnostic and can settle with almost any acquirer,” according to Autoscribe CEO Rob Pollin. The problem of companies being denied payments for arbitrary reasons, sometimes referred to as operation chokepoint, appears to have ended, or as Pollin noted, “what only theoretically existed is not over.” A fascinating application was demonstrated by Albert Rookard, president of Applied Innovation. PayStreamZ enables debtors to settle debts and pay the fee themselves. Because the amounts are paid separately, the dollars received are whole dollars and not dollars discounted by 3% or more for credit card transaction fees. Applied Innovation also presented a portal where debtors could negotiate payment amounts online. It has been said that the basis of philosophy before and after Socrates has been “know thyself.” The bottom line on electronic payments and all facets of collection technology is know thy vendor. I received a handling fee for paying a vendor (Guru.com) in the UK out of my cash account recently. These charges were never agreed to or authorized by me. For 36 hours they made no payment at all to a vendor waiting to be paid. They essentially held me hostage until I added money from Paypal. After placing several phone calls and sending emails, no one ever responded. I was disturbed to find the same danger among collection vendors. There are reps at tradeshows, there are websites, but there is no person responsible there. They have no address, no phone number and no officer of the company you can speak with if a problem arises. I looked up a couple at the Secretary of State websites where they purported to be located and they weren’t there either. Collections needs the highest caliber collection technology vendor. Collection Advisor continues to only cover companies where a responsible party is accessible. Text collecting and payments enhances collections just make sure you know with whom you are dealing. September/October 2016

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25 MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN COLLECTIONS

Saluting the Women Who Improve the Collection Profession

The debt collection profession is wide open to influence from anyone. Fortunately there are professionals who use their influence to improve the process of collecting debt to benefit not only those who collect it but consumers who wish to resolve it. Collection Advisor salutes the women who work for this cause and present them as the Most Influential Women in Collections. Women on this list work toward the perfection of debt collection, improvement of the industry and the promotion of compliance education. Evidence of this ongoing influence can be found in collection agencies, law firms, presentations at trade shows and their proactive efforts in trade organizations. What is true in collections is true in many of life’s endeavors, you get out of something what you put in to it. Accordingly, the Most Influential Women in Collections provide their response to the question, “What opportunities has collections offered you?”

DONNA NICHOLSON STIEF Executive Director, CCO | Credit Bureau of Lancaster County, Inc. Vice President | Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association

“The opportunity to lead a team through difficult and ever-changing circumstances, while projecting a positive and hopeful outlook. I am so proud to be in debt collections, a noble career, helping the economy and consumers for the greater good.” LISA ELLEN SPIWAK, ESQ. Managing Partner Spiwak & Iezza, LLP “For 30 years I have gotten to be

a hero to my clients with unpaid receivables and defaulted loans which are seriously jeopardizing their businesses. I am able to recover their money and right the wrong done to them. My career as a collection attorney has been an amazing journey!” MARIAN SANGALANG Vice President | The Bureaus, Inc.

 “The collection industry has offered me extensive personal growth as well as the opportunity to be noticed for quality performance as a collector and an executive.”

LESLIE BENDER Vice President/Government

Affairs & General Counsel ARS National Services Inc.

“The collections profession has afforded me the chance to work with consumers, lawmakers and credit/collections professionals by helping them navigate challenging privacy and consumer financial protection regulations and laws.” NICOLE M. STRICKLER Shareholder | Messer, Stilp & Strickler, Ltd.

“The collection industry has offered the opportunity to develop my legal and compliance skills while growing relationships with some of the brightest and driven professionals in consumer finance.” KELLY KNEPPER-STEPHENS General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer

Stoneleigh Recovery Associates, LLC

“I enjoy applying my experience in legal ethics to business and the opportunity to represent and lobby on behalf of the collection industry and small business.”

Continued on page 16 .com

September/October 2016

15


25 MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN COLLECTIONS

25 Most Influential Women in Collections

Continued from page 15

STEFANIE H. JACKMAN Partner | Ballard Spahr LLP

“My collections work offers me opportunities to assist my clients in crafting practical, efficient solutions to address evolving regu latory expectations and increasingly complex compliance challenges.”

LADONNA BOHLING Vice President of Call Center Operations | Contract Callers, Inc. “Collections has expanded my knowledge of

our economy. Gaining collection effects and perspectives from Consumers, Creditors, and Regulators has made me a better business person.”

BARBARA A. SINSLEY Senior V.P., Legal & Regulatory, Chief Compliance Officer Resurgent Capital Services, LP “It has allowed me to learn from great women, namely, Alane Becket and Joann Needleman.

AMY ANUK SVP of Business Development, Chair of Women@Encore Encore Capital Group “M y role in the industry enables me to act as

DEBRA J. CISKEY Chief Compliance Officer Wakefield and Associates, Inc. “Collaborative development of creative and

JUNE D. COLEMAN Shareholder | Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard

Without their support, it would have been a dull ride.”

immediately applicable training for compli ance professionals and innovative leadership through industry governance transitions highlight opportunities I have experienced in the collection industry.”

CHRISTINA MCALPIN TAYLOR Partner of Creditors’ Rights and Collections | Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, LLP “I represent creditors, which often puts me at odds with good, decent people who are simply unable to pay their bills. I have built a positive reputation with judges, court personnel, opposing attorneys, and pro se litigants.”

JOANN NEEDLEMAN Member and Leader of the Consumer Financial Services

Regulatory & Compliance Practice Group | Clark Hill

a change agent to help consumers get back on a path to financial well-being.”

“The collection industry has offered me the opportunity to develop my skills as a litiga- tion strategist, especially with class actions while balancing the expense of litigation.”

ALANE A. BECKET Managing Partner

| Becket & Lee LLP

“Through my career in collections, I have met the smartest, professional and most loyal women; some of whom I consider my closest friends and advisors.”

ALISON VERGES WALTERS Collections and Asset Recovery Partner | Kelley Kronenberg

“As a collections attorney, and a leader in NARCA, I enjoy a challenging and rewarding career that provides countless opportunities to learn, guide, and collaborate with other collections professionals.”

“The collections industry has allowed me to work with some of the smartest and most innovative women. Their collaboration has helped me elevate my game.”

16

September/October 2016

.com


LAUREN M. BURNETTE Managing Attorney, Florida Office Barron & Newburger, P.C.

“Representing collection professionals in this fast-paced, constantly evolving regulatory environment has allowed me to contribute to the growth of an industry that is more compliant than ever before.”

DARA CHEVLIN TARKOWSKI Partner | Akerman LLP

“Representing ARM organizations has given me the opportunity to advocate, educate and lobby in what is now a truly evolving area of the law.”



KIM PHAN Of Counsel

| Ballard Spahr LLP

“The chance to help collection companies, that are a vital part of the economy, navigate the challenges of heightened scrutiny in the current regulatory environment.”

WENDY BADGER Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President, Corporate Compliance ECMC Group

“The collection industry has provided me opportunities to impact and influence the broader discipline of compliance and work with and learn from incredible, passionate people.”

KAYE M. DREIFUERST President | Security Credit Services, LLC Board of Directors, Served

as President 2015-2016 DBA International

“The collection profession has allowed me to utilize my problem solving skills and teach/coach others how to help consumers solve problems.”

.com

September/October 2016

TINA HANSON  CEO | Protocol Financial Service, LLC

“The collection industry has provided me the opportunity to meet some of the most talented people with amazing experiences and build friendships that will last a lifetime.”

JENNIFER S. COHEN, ESQ. Partner & Practice Group Chair, Mergers & Acquisitions SLG FIRM, LLC “Collections has given me opportunity to work with honest, ethical and smart business people and help advise them as they traverse the ever-changing regulatory environment.”

CINDY L. SEBRELL Vice President, Public Affairs ACA International

“This industry offers me the opportunity to be a strong national-level voice for businesses often misunderstood and misrepresented in the media and on Capitol Hill.”

ROXANNE S. BAKER President | Coast Professional, Inc.

“Building and leading a corporate family where I am able to help them grow personally and professionally is the greatest opportunity collections has offered me.”

In summation of such a stellar group, DBA International President (20152016) Kaye M. Dreifuerst was correct in stating, “Our industry provides hope and options for consumers allowing many to move forward with their lives and commitments. I’m personally proud of our profession and the paths that we continue to forge through educational programs and assistance!”

25 MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN COLLECTIONS


Agency Spotlight

Making Medical Collections a Family Affair

BY JOSHUA FLUEGEL

A

n unpaid medical bill is typically the result of an eventful story involving surprise and tough decisions. This nature of medical debt can leave consumers feeling Calder Willingham particularly vulnerable meaning a collection professional must handle accounts with thoughtful precision to protect the client’s patients and bottom line. Fostering an atmosphere of family in a collection office would not only protect client relations but exude a feeling of empathy that can be helpful on a delicate collection call. Calder Willingham, president of Creditors Bureau Associates, describes his family-owned collection agency and how an era of hefty regulation is greatly improved with a familiar sort of trust. Tell us how Creditors Bureau Associates came to be and how you became involved in collections? My father, Jay Willingham, opened Creditors Bureau Associates (CBA) in 1990 with one client. We now service over 200 hundred active clients. CBA’s focus is on medical bad debt collections for hospitals, physicians, EMS services. Our company has been truly blessed by my father’s leadership the past 25 years. I graduated from University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business in 2006. Before I graduated I drove back and forth from Athens to start my sales role for CBA. CBA had seven employees when I started in 2006. We’ve seen a significant amount of growth in the past 10 years.

18

What do you do to optimize upper management’s performance? With upper management we believe in incentivizing performance just like with our collector position. The more compliant and efficient the office runs, the more money we pay to upper management. A few metrics we use are call recording audits, queue integrity audits, and total fees collected.

healthcare and healthcare collections. You need great communication when working together on the client’s revenue cycle. If you do this well, then, they will allow you to be involved in their revenue cycle from beginning to end.

What do you do to keep your collectors motivated and happy? They represent our brand in the communities our clients serve. It’s crucial they feel motivated to provide great service in a way that is compliant and ethical. Our collector compensation model is based on hourly wage plus commission. In the process of hiring collectors over the past 10 years, researching pay for the position at the local and state levels, and then talking to other agency owners, we know CBA pays a higher than average commission by a large margin. We are a small family owned business and our environment feels that way. We will meet and fellowship outside work several times a year. In June we had our annual lake party at Lake Sinclair in Eatonton, GA. We cooked out, swam, rode the inner tube and had a great time together. We all look forward to this event every year.

What has the CFPB done that affects medical collections the most and what do you think agencies must do to adapt? Because of CBA’s small size and the fact we really push compliance all throughout our collection process we’ve not had many dealings with the CFPB. We rarely have consumers asking the CFPB to intervene on their behalf and communicate with CBA. Of course we have had to make several changes to processes from CFPB rulings. The ruling that we worked the hardest to make sure we comply with is disputes to consumers credit reporting information reported by CBA. I believe creating a systematic process to deal with consumer disputes will actually help increase efficiencies. You should systematically identify consumers who do not believe they owe a debt (no matter if they truly do or do not) and notate that in your system and with the credit bureaus. You can stop wasting time and money on those accounts, and focus your energy on consumers who acknowledge and pay their debt

What was a particular challenge you met in medical collections and how did you overcome it? In healthcare collections you must maintain close relationships with your clients. You need these great relationships to navigate the ever-changing laws regulating both

What are some key implications of the FDCPA, HIPAA and TCPA in a medical collection agency? Of course we make sure our staff communicates with consumers in a way that treats them with respect and dignity. With healthcare collections a lot of consumers September/October 2016

.com


“A suggested message was given to us by ACA International but people are getting sued even when leaving that message.” we speak to did not plan to have the debt we’re collecting on. A lot of the debt comes from an unforeseen medical event that happened in their life, or their family’s life. We are sensitive to that. Also, with healthcare collections we put a big emphasis on creating processes that allow us to clearly identify who we are speaking to over the phone. We work really hard to never have third party disclosures. The TCPA was pretty messy in regard to the use of automated dialers. Having to express consent before dialing a consumer’s cell phone created a lot of pain for a large number of agencies. Dealing with issues like this is another reason to have a strong relationship with your client. It makes overcoming them easier. What is the key to establishing and maintaining good relationships with clients? Number one is you have to present yourself and your company in a way that is trustworthy. It would be rare for a client, right off the bat, to trust you enough for them to invite you into a decision-making capacity in their revenue cycle. After having ongoing conversations with them you show them that what you are doing is working. You then earn their trust. While that may take a while eventually you will get to the point that you can work hand-in-hand with them to develop some strategies in the revenue cycle that could really benefit them. What is a development you would like to see in medical collection technology? What I want to see is actually something that needs to be addressed within the collection industry as a whole. I believe new laws regarding communicating with consumers with the technology we have available in the 21st century needs to be addressed by the CFPB. There are a lot processes that could be made more efficient on both the consumer and collection agency side if these concerns were addressed in an equitable way. What processes could be made more efficient? The main one that is the biggest pain is .com

September/October 2016

the lack of ability to communicate with consumers via cell phone with an auto-dialer. They’ve made rules against contacting them on cell phones unless they have given expressed consent to do so. There are more and more people who do not have landlines and the main way to contact these people is on their cell phone. The other big one is there is a lot of inconsistency in law making for leaving messages for consumers. Collection agencies have been getting sued for leaving a message and not leaving a message. A suggested message was given to us by ACA International but people are getting sued even when leaving that message. It’s something for which the governing body needs to step in and give some clarification and set some solid common sense, 21st century rules making everything clear for everyone. That’s something that should have been fixed years ago. What is a piece of advice you would offer an agency considering medical collections? If the agency does not have the technology and processes in place to monitor their healthcare collector’s calls/compliance, that needs to be their first investment. You don’t have the leverage in healthcare collections that you might have collecting commercial debt. You must be sure to be patient-focused in collecting for your providers. How is Creditors Bureau Associates  involved in the community? Creditors Bureau Associates is constantly looking for different opportunities to give back to our community. We enjoy giving to different entities in the Middle Georgia area and seeing the results of that giving through attending events that showcase how that giving is being used to affect the lives of people in the community. As CBA continues to grow we are looking at hosting our own community events that could train and educate the public about how to read their medical bills, credit reports, and how to create and maintain a budget for your family that’s debt free.

Selling your agency?

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19


COLLECTION SOFTWARE EASES BURDEN OF MEDICAL DEBT COMPLIANCE

BY JOSHUA FLUEGEL

M

edical debt always finds consumers in a vulnerable state. This is the reason government agencies like the CFPB regulate it so heavily. First and third party collectors alike have been exploring options to ease the increasing burden. Medical collection software has proved itself to be a worthy companion to help mitigate the demands of complete compliance. “Patients may be extremely sensitive with regard to how they should be treated with reference to a medical debt,” said Debbie Collins, COO Debbie Collins at Quantrax. “Contact frequency, whether it be letters or phone calls, must be handled with care. The same is true about calling them within the allowed calling periods and not calling them during ‘inconvenient times.’ Medical information is very sensitive. Information must be secure, and access restricted to only the information required to do one’s job. Even in cases where access is allowed, the software should tell you who accessed information, and what was changed or viewed. In most cases, the system must allow longer payment arrangements than with other types of debt.” While medical collection software should help prevent a collection professional from unnecessarily upsetting a consumer, it should also guide a collector through the collection process to make sure none of the compliance-related activities go awry. “Healthcare collection software should provide workflow controls

20

within the account recovery process that enforce compliance with specific regulatory requirements like 501(r) extraordinary collection action (ECA) wait periods, required statement Michael A. Mullins language, and financial assistance communication,” said Michael A. Mullins, senior director, enterprise sales – revenue cycle at Ontario Systems.

“Technology tools in the area of compliance include flexible screen configuration and adaptable design fields.” In addition to compliance today’s medical software may also be able to help a collection agency accommodate a client’s needs. This capability can range from screen appearance to selected recorded messages. “Technology tools in the area of compliance include flexible screen configuration and adaptable design fields to meet even the most demanding or constantly changing cliLex Patterson ent needs,” said Lex Patterson, president of DAKCS. “Hospitals and clients’ needs are ideally reached when their patients feel comfortable and pleased. With available solutions such as PCI compliant IVR payment solutions, secure cloud client access and various consumer

communication channels, an agency can stay ahead and continue to build those vital relationships necessary for their clients, patients and communities. “Compliance management solutions also are key to minimizing the risk of non-compliance. Good solutions will be cost effective and include easily accessible document management containing operating procedures, training tools and test transcripts, as well as complaint tracking and call recording. “By utilizing the flexibility of compliant workflows and secure automated procedures within the medical collection software, an agency is positioned to minimize the risk of non-compliance with fewer steps and less impact to revenue producing processes.” There are hundreds of settings, parameters and options that must be set in a particular way to achieve compliance. Even then, the human element must Chris J. Roberts be maintained to assure nothing falls through the cracks. Chris J. Roberts, president and COO at Sentinel Development Solutions believes the key elements a fitting medical collection solution should offer to help an agency remain compliant should include: “Have a ‘Do Not Call’ feature that can be configured to conform to all regulatory requirements, and contain warnings and guidelines for non-compliant action,” said Roberts. Piece by piece, medical collection software chips away at the mountain that is compliance making a return on investment increasingly likely. September/October 2016

.com


MEDICAL COLLECTIONS COMPARISON CHART PRODUCT

RMEx

Beyond ARM

eCollections

Artiva HC

COMPANY

Quantrax Corporation Inc.

DAKCS

Sentinel Development Solutions

Ontario Systems

RMEx

Beyond ARM

eCollections

Artiva HC

Statements can be regenerated/reprinted for a client for a specific period

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Tracks multiple internal and external contact names/numbers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Automated faxing

Yes

No

No

No

Integrates with email

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Automated phone dialing

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

CHUI environment

Yes

Yes

No

No

Web access: Secure and customizable remote access for collectors

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Web access: Secure and customizable remote access for debtors

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Web access: Secure and customizable remote access for clients

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Application development studio

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

User-defined client access interfaces

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Built-in collection agency templates

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

RMEx

Beyond ARM

eCollections

Artiva HC

Manages HIPAA privacy requests for alternate addressing

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Captures denial management statistics for reporting

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Systematically determines most appropriate letter correspondence address

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Manually links associated accounts

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Interfaces to Web-based applications for eligibility and claim status

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Manages medical record requests for claim processing

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

RECOVERY FUNCTIONALITY

RMEx

Beyond ARM

eCollections

Artiva HC

Agency/attorney management

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

GENERAL FUNCTIONALITY

HEALTHCARE COLLECTION FUNCTIONALITY

Asset sales

No

No

Yes

No

Metro2 reporting on post-charge-off

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

System of record or nonsystem of record functionality

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Standard agency/attorney/buyer formats

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bankruptcy/deceased management

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

TELEPHONY FUNCTIONALITY

RMEx

Beyond ARM

eCollections

Artiva HC

Carrier-grade hardware (Nebs-compliant)

Yes

Yes

Third-party

No

Automatic remote error reporting

Yes

Yes

Third-party

No

Automatic software/firmware updates

Yes

Yes

Third-party

No

Yes

Yes

Third-party

Yes

Fully integrated to application

Yes

No

Third-party

Yes

Fully integrated to dialer (bidirectional information transfer with call)

Yes

No

Third-party

Yes

Dialer

Call Recording On-demand playback into current conversation IVR

Information on this table is derived from information be contacted directly. Real-time application database accessposted on the Internet and direct questions. The company Yes is the ultimate source and shouldYes

Third-party

Yes

Outbound right party delivery

Yes

Yes

Third-party

Yes

Secure payment authorization

Yes

No

Third-party

Yes


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September/October 2016 Volume 16, No. 5 Editor T. Steel Rose, CPA, ACG editor@collectionadvisor.com Managing Editor Joshua Fluegel josh@collectionadvisor.com Copy Editor Myrna Nelson myrna@collectionadvisor.com Publisher Angie Rose angie@collectionadvisor.com Production Andrea Bergeron Paul andrea@collectionadvisor.com The opinions given by contributing authors are their own and are not necessarily the opinion of our staff and management. All trademarks used are the property of their respective owner.

Collection Advisor (ISSN# 1556-0813) is produced six times a year by Abide Media, P.O. Box 92342, Southlake, TX 76092, 888-610-1144. Standard Mail postage paid at Sussex, WI 53089. ©2016 All Rights Reserved Magazine Publishing Group, Inc. Printed in the U.S.A.

BUSINESS DIRECTORY

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Agency Acquisitions

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Collection Solutions Software, Inc. CSS IMPACT! HD™ 2.0 cssimpact.com | carlb@cssimpact.com bingold@commercialcollection.com 877-277-4621 800-873-5212 Our economy and our industry are undergoing unprecedented CSS IMPACT! HD™ 2.0 (Enterprise), the industry’s leading Successful and trusted in transitioning change. It has commercial never been more important that we understand ARM | Collections & Compliance Platform delivering decades agencies under ourand umbrella for 53 years. Agency our businesses. efficiently operate of deep rooted industry acumen for the ARM, Collections & revenues from $300,000. Nationwide acquisitions. Compliance sectors. IXP (Lite) also available. The Commercial Collection Corp. of NY, Inc. commercialcollection.com

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Relevant Current Collection Tips Compliance Strategies Training Advice CFPB, FTC, TCPA Technology Updates

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for 3 CCE Hours

ACCESS THIS QUIZ ON PAGE 26 September/October 2016

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LocateSmarter Batch & Online Skip Tracing Platform VoApps locatesmarter.com DirectDrop Voicemail info@locatesmarter.com voapps.com 888-254-5501 sales@voapps.com LocateSmarter is a data provider focused on innovation 855-737-1596 and data quality. LocateSmarter offers skip tracing VoApp’s patented DirectDrop Voicemail service delivers products such as phone append, bankruptcy, deceased, a voice message directly to a consumer’s voicemail cell phone scrubs and more. server – without calling the phone in question. MicroBilt MicroBilt Electronic Payments Collections Suite Advanced Payment microbilt.com Systems 800-884-4747 Credit Card & Check MicroBilt is the leading data provider for collections, Processing Merchant Services skip tracing and provides multiple alternative and apsofga.com collections-specific credit reports, as well as bank jennifer@apsofga.com account data. 800-482-4561 APS provides a full range of electronic payment PDJ Services solutions, including credit, debit & HSA cards, check, Covert Record and ACH transactions, along with multiple software Retrieval integration options, web payment portals, and the pdjservices.com | contact@pdjservices.com IKEY Product Suite with the attorney endorsed Reg E 800-298-1153 compliance solution. We specialize in Telephone, Cellular, Nationwide Bank & Verified Current Employment Locates. When you Skip Tracing want 100% verified accurate information for unlisted & cellular phones, people locates, bank & employment IDI, Inc. locates...you’ll call us!! idiCORE ididata.com VeriFacts sales@ididata.com Payroll Promise 855-842-1410 verifactsinc.com Trusted for over a decade by collection agencies and sclark@verifactsinc.com collection attorneys. IDI provides fast, accurate and 800-542-7434 cost-effective consumer verification and skip-tracing Payroll Promise is designed to support a legal strategy solutions via online, API, and batch processing. by locating verified full time places of employment. The Reduce Cost, Not Quality. information returned is 100% guaranteed to be accurate.

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INTRODUCING

Collection Compliance Education According to Collection Advisor’s 2015 Reader Survey, 85% of readers requested training courses with quizzes for updates on compliant collection practices. This issue will be launching the Collection Compliance Education (CCE) program.

CERTIFIC

ATE OF C O

MPLETIO This certific ate is presen The following quiz covers compliance informaN ted to John Doe tion presented in this issue of Collection Advisor. for successf July-August ully completing Colle 2016 Continu ct ing Complia ion Advisor’s Verify that you have completed the 3-hour study time rence Education Course quirement by completing and submitting the following quiz to Collection Advisor. Assuming a passing score of 70%, you will receive a certificate displaying your commitment to continuing your education in compliant debt collection. Upon the completion of 18 credit hours of study (6 passed quizzes) the collection professional will be recognized as a Compliant Collector Silver. Additional increments of 18 hours will be met with further distinction. Course Nu

Instructional

Total CCE Cred

it

mber: 2016

July 5, 201

6

delivery me

1

thod: Self-st

udy

3 credits

Collection Adv

isor / P.O. Box 923

42 / Southla ke, TX

76092

Joshua Fluegel,

Administrator

The cost of the quiz is $25. If a passing score of 70% is achieved, a certificate will sent to the email address indicated. A completed answer sheet can be submitted by email (josh@collectionadvisor.com), fax (817-756-7252) or by mail (PO Box 92342, Southlake, TX 76092).

26

September/October 2016

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CONTINUING COMPLIANCE EDUCATION FOR COLLECTION PROFESSIONALS

1. Since 2007, the federal student loan balance has surpassed credit card debt and is almost ______. A. $516 billion B. $1 trillion C. $1.2 trillion D. $2.1 trillion 2. Which of the following would not forgive or defer a student loan debt? A. Military service B. Relocation to another state C. Service as a teacher D. Medical circumstances 3. In most cases, what does a declaration of bankruptcy do to a student loan? A. It puts the loan in abeyance. B. It puts the loan in default C. The loan is forgiven. D. The loan receives a secondary review by the creditor. 4. Which of the following forms is no longer accepted by Medicare or Medicaid in relation to medical debt? A. CMS-1450 B. UB04 C. UB92 D. 1090x 5. Which of the following regulations prohibits extraordinary collection activity before making reasonable efforts to determine whether a patient is eligible for financial assistance? A. FDCPA B. 501(r) C. HIPAA D. HITECH Act 6. You should frequently monitor how collectors document patients’ account and communication with third parties including spouses and attorneys to avoid disclosing personal or private medical conditions and violating ______. A. FDCPA B. 501(r) C. HIPAA D. HITECH Act .com

September/October 2016

7. The HITECH Act was put in place with the purpose of implementing the use of __________. A. on-premises servers with consumer information B. cell phones for correspondence C. automated dialers D. electronic health records 8. What is the first thing a collection professional must establish when tracing a student loan skip? A. Liability of the debt. B. Consult a data broker for location information. C. Utilize a neuro-linguistic question technique with next of kin. D. Scrub known phone numbers. 9. Which of the following is not an item of upmost importance to a tracer when working student loans? A. The original application. B. The original contract or copy thereof. C. The original acceptance letter or copy thereof from the educational institution. D. The informational document containing the last educational institution the student attended. 10. What are some recommended websites for skip tracing on student loan accounts? A. Alumni.com B. Peoplesmart.com C. Findaschoolmate.com D. Both A and C 11. Immediately after what level of a skip tracing waterfall is it recommended a skip tracer contact the skip’s relatives and references and use neuro-linguistic questioning techniques when skip tracing on a student loan account? A. Establishing student loan debt liability. B. Calling the skip’s relatives and referenced briefly. C. Using paid data broker sites. D. Using websites focused on educational attendance.

3 $25 forCredits

12. Which of the following were described in the CFPB’s March 2016 supervisory bulletin as issues it observed and directed debt collectors to correct during supervisory examinations? A. Failure to honor consumers’ notification to the debt collector that they refuse to pay a debt or to cease communication with them. B. The use of false, deceptive or misleading representations regarding garnishment in connection with the collection of student loan debt. C. The use of an automated dialer to contact consumers via mobile phone. D. Both A and B 13. The CFPB’s March 2016 supervisory bulletin recently reported supervisory activities resulted in ________ in restitution to more than a quarter of a million consumers from debt collectors, mortgage originators, and deposit institutions. A. $6.8 million B. $14.3 million C. $1.2 trillion D. $2.1 trillion 14. Approximately 50% of consumers: A. have debt in one way or another. B. have a mobile phone instead of a landline. C. have been contacted by a collection agency at some point. D. have student loan debt. 15. Approximately 75% of smartphones:

A. have electronic payment portal access. B. have text messaging capability. C. are locked phones. D. cannot be legally contacted by collectors.

Answer the 15 questions and complete the answer sheet on page 28. 27


for 3 $25 Credits

KEEP CURRENT AND ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE FOR COMPLIANT COLLECTIONS

Continued from page 27

Course Title: September/October 2016

Mark your answers here. Fax this page to: 817-756-7252 1. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 2. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 3. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 4. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 5. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 6. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 7. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 8. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 9. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 10. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 11. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 12. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 13. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ 14. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍

YOU READ IT... NOW GET CREDIT

15. A   ❍    B   ❍    C   ❍    D   ❍ Total due: $25 for 3 hours of Continuing Compliance Education. Fax this page to 817-756-7252, and if preferred, call 888-610-1144 to follow up with credit card number. If paying by check, payee is: Collection Advisor magazine. Mail to: Collection Advisor magazine, P.O. Box 92342, Southlake, TX 76092. Name                       Company/Firm    Street address                            City/state/zip                            Email (required)   

  Check

Phone      Card number    

   

Expires

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Name on card   By signing here, I submit this quiz for CCE credit confirming that I personally studied the material for the required amount of time listed on the exam. 

Signature

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September/October 2016

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Collection Advisor September/October 2016  

The September-October issue of Collection Advisor features the 25 Most Influential Women in Collections. This issue also features Sam Eidso...

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