Is it legal for a medical office to call the patient’s emergency contact to retrieve payment information if payment is past due?

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Is it legal for a medical office to call the patient’s emergency contact to retrieve payment information if payment is past due?

A medical office called my listed emergency contact and not only told her that I owe them money, but tried to obtain personal information about me from my contact. When I finally spoke with her myself, she said it is their office’s policy to contact anyone listed on any forms, if unable to make contact with patient directly.

Asked on January 6, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is not illegal per se for a medical office to contact a patient's emergency contact to retrieve payment information if payment past due in any state in this country. Creditors call third parties all the time to try and achieve information about a creditor for collection purposes.

Although the telephone call to the emergency contact is not illegal, it can be perceived to be in poor taste not only by you, but also by the third party emergency contact. Such tactics are typically done to pressure the debtor to make the overdue payment.


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