Fairfax, VA (PRWEB) May 19, 2014
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) http://www.aaham.org , a professional association, applauds the recent comments made by FCC commissioner, Michael O’Reilly regarding providing clarity to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which prohibits unwanted telephone calls and faxes. http://www.fcc.gov/blog/tcpa-it-time-provide-clarity
The TCPA restricts making telemarketing calls, using automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages (often referred to as robocalls), and sending unsolicited faxes. In his comments, Commissioner O’Reilly stated the TCPA has been a success. However, in enacting the TCPA he added, the Congress aimed to strike a balance between protecting consumers from unwanted communications and enabling legitimate businesses to reach out to consumers that wish to be contacted. Over time, as the FCC and the courts have interpreted the TCPA, business models and ways of communicating with consumers have also changed. As a result, the rules have become complex and unclear.
AAHAM believes the TCPA should be amended immediately to improve the communication infrastructure between and among consumers and those service providers with which consumers choose to engage. “We applaud Commissioner O’Reilly’s comments on this very complex issue,” stated Victoria Di Tomaso, CRCE-I, President, AAHAM. “Proper communication between businesses, consumers, and patients is a vital component of a strong consumer protection environment. It ensures consumers are made aware of changes to the status quo that they may not otherwise be made aware of, and provides them an opportunity to address pressing issues that stave off otherwise unavoidable, adverse financial action, such as foreclosure, negative credit reporting or litigation” added DiTomaso.
In the healthcare industry, if a doctor needs to remind patients of their appointments or their medicine is ready; they have to have real people calling them to remind them of the appointment when in fact this could be done more efficiently and effectively with the use of technology. However, the TCPA prohibits all “person(s)” including healthcare providers or their agents from contacting consumers on their wireless phones by way of an auto dialer or prerecorded message. Notably, many of these same consumers do not even have landlines. Today 40% of homes do not have landlines and therefore healthcare costs continue to escalate because we cannot utilize technologies making it more effective for us to stay connected to our patients. Modernizing the TCPA would make clear that consumers who provide their wireless numbers to service providers with whom they have a relationship have granted the calling party consent to call them on their cell phone even if the communication is actually initiated by an auto dialer or provides a prerecorded message.
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires hospitals and outpatient clinics to perform post-discharge follow-up with patients to reduce the rate of readmission, a big contributor to the cost of healthcare,” stated John Currier, CRCE-I, First Vice President, AAHAM. “Under the TCPA, these calls are high-risk if the patient’s primary contact number is a mobile number and the patient didn’t expressly provide the mobile phone number for that purpose. It is a financial strain on a hospital or doctor’s office to try and determine if the phone number a patient left is a cell number or landline number. It also causes for increases in the healthcare system when a hospital and/or doctor’s office cannot communicate with their patients, as now required by the ACA, using autodialer technology providing that these calls are not for telemarketing purposes and are not randomly generated,” added Currier.
The TCPA needs to keep pace with the rate at which technology is changing and how it is being used by businesses and consumers. AAHAM urges the FCC to begin a rule-making process that allows for modernization of an Act that is out of date. Regulations need to keep pace with the use of technology and this is one case where technology is clearly outpacing the intent of regulations.
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) is a national professional association of thirty-two chapters and over 3000 healthcare patient financial services professionals from hospitals, clinics, billing offices, allied vendors, physicians and multi physician groups. AAHAM members direct the activities of the thousands of people who are employed in the healthcare industry.
AAHAM is the preeminent professional organization for revenue cycle professionals and is known for is prestigious certification and educational programs; professional development of its members is one of the primary goals of the association. AAHAM is also recognized for its quarterly journal, The Journal of Healthcare Administrative Management and its Annual National Institute, held each fall. AAHAM actively represents the interests of its members through a comprehensive program of legislative and regulatory monitoring and participation in industry groups such as WEDI, ASC X12, NUBC and NUCC.
For more information regarding AAHAM and its programs, please visit http://www.aaham.org or contact AAHAM, 703.281.4043.