The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Calling Cell Phones

By October 20, 2016Newsletter Article

By: Med A/Rx

Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), calling cell phone numbers using an “automatic telephone dialing system” can cause legal problems for providers and revenue cycle companies trying to contact patients to pay their outstanding account balance.

The TCPA (47 U.S.C. 227, 47 CFR 64.1200) prohibits the use of an “automatic telephone dialing system” to contact “any telephone number assigned to a …cellular telephone service” without “express prior consent” from the party being called.

More than two-fifths of American homes (45.4%) had cell phones and no landline phones in the 2nd half of 2014 – a 4.4% increase from a year prior, and double since 2008. About 44.1% of all adults (106 million) lived in wireless only homes — and the same for 54.1% of all children (40 million children). In addition, a sixth of American homes (14.9%) still had a landline, but received all or almost all calls on their cell phones.1

To reduce the risk of legal fees associated with calling cell phones, we suggest adding the following language to your current MEDICAL TREATMENT AUTHORIZATION AND CONSENT FORM:

You agree, in order for us to collect any amounts you may owe, we or an associated third party may contact you by telephone at any telephone number associated with your account, including wireless telephone numbers, which could result in charges to you. We may also contact you by sending text messages or e-mails, using any e-mail address you provide to us. Methods of contact may include using pre-recorded/artificial voice messages and/or use of an automatic dialing device, as applicable.

1. Market Research Association (MRA). (2015). TCPA Restrictions on Using Autodialers to Call Cell Phones. Retrieved from: http://www.marketingresearch.org/legal-article/tcpa-restrictions-using-autodialers-call-cell-phones