Health Diagnostic Labs (HDL) Patient Support Page
Dear Valued Patient
We've been notified that a collection's agency has sent notices on behalf of the bankruptcy estate of Health Diagnostics Laboratory (HDL). If you received a collection notice, we are so sorry to hear this and we understand the shock and frustration you may be experiencing. In the interest of transparency and authenticity we'd like to express a few thoughts and options:
- The stated written and verbal policy of HDL had always been to attempt to collect from patients only under very specific circumstances, outlined in the attached Letter from the CEO of HDL.
- When Dr. Retzler ordered HDL lab work in the past (we no longer work with this laboratory), she and our patients were assured on multiple occasions verbally and in writing by HDL and Blue Wave Health that (as an 'out of network' provider who does not accept insurance reimbursement or participate with federal or private insurance programs) NO patient would be "balance billed" meaning, no one would ever receive a bill for lab work, even if insurance did not pay anything to HDL unless the insurance company sent a check to the patient that was not forwarded to HDL. HDL also assumed all risk for unpaid laboratory fees for "out of network" providers.
- As the HDL Bankruptcy Trust had no way of knowing who did and who didn't receive a check from their insurance company, we are not sure but it seems that the collections notices are only going out to patients with insurances that would be most likely to have sent a check that should have then been forwarded to the billing address for HDL.
- As far as we can tell (it's our opinion) at this point most patients should not have to pay anything unless they received a check from their insurance company that they failed top forward to HDL per their agreement with HDL.
- We can't offer any legal advice or act on your behalf but we would encourage patients to carefully follow the guidelines below within 30 days of receiving a collection letter.
Again, as we are currently and always have been an OUT OF NETWORK provider that does not accept reimbursement or participate with government or private insurance programs the only 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.
If you received a check from your insurance company and did NOT forward it to HDL per the HDL agreement you do owe that money.
Again, 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 and resolved their 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: 1. Dispute the validity of the claim that you owe any debt using the sample letter provided and attach a copy of the letter from the CEO of HDL. Ask the collections agency to provide you with whatever evidence they have that indicates to them that you owe a debt per the attached sample letter.
- 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 the sample letter provided and an EOB (explanations of benefits from their insurance company) 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 per the attached sample letter.
- 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.
- Collections Response Letter - PATIENT: This is the attachment that you'll EDIT the letter information in accordance to the collections letters you have received. You'll want to do letter draft for EACH collection company notice that you receive. Even if it's from the same collection agency, there would be different claim or date of services they may be referring to, so it would be best to draft a letter for EACH of the letters received. Please pay attention to ALL areas where you'll need to edit your own personal information, and also the collection letter information. There will mostly likely be in parentheses or in bold of where you'll need to edit the letter. Mail finalized copies.
- HDL Letter from CEO: Please make sure to PRINT a copy of this letter for EACH letter you mail out to be included with your response letter for their reference. Super important as the response letter refers to it as a reference.
- Cease and Desist Letter: This is a copy of a Cease and Desist for unauthorized Health Diagnostics Laboratory collection actions. PLEASE READ and use at your discretion.
- Washington State Collecton Agency Complaint Form: This is for your personal reference only. If in the event the collection agencies do continue to send you repetitive claims AFTER your letters were received by them, or harassing you of any sort about the collections, do not hesitate to fill out one of the complaint letters for your state to send in. As stated in the "Collections Response letter", they will have been warned that such actions will be taken place if they continue to contact you in any way.
- Oregon State Collection Agency Complaint Form: This is for your personal reference only. If in the event the collection agencies do continue to send you repetitive claims AFTER your letters were received by them, or harassing you of any sort about the collections, do not hesitate to fill out one of the complaint letters for your state to send in.
- As stated in the "Collections Response letter", they will have been warned that such actions will be taken place if they continue to contact you in any way.
All patients regardless of insurance reimbursement have been made aware and signed agreements that Dr. Retzler does participate with any insurance programs, is a cash only practice and never responsible for a patients outside lab fees.
We are not, nor do we even qualify as a Medicare, Medicaid or TriCare provider or accepted any reimbursement from government insurance programs. The reason we even mention this is that the HDL bankruptcy trust is using this as leverage for collection when the courts ruled that processing and handling fee reimbursement received by Medicare, Medicaid or TriCare providers was inappropriate per government regulations of those programs. The trust is calling these fees "fraudulent" citing the "Stark Act" that only applies to federally funded insurance programs.
As a Naturopathic Physician Dr. Retzler is not even recognized as eligible by the government for Medicare, Medicaid or TriCare reimbursements therefore we believe the claim of "fraudulent" fees per government regulations does not apply to our clinic. HDL was not allowed to bill government health care programs for services provided by our clinic.
We consider the blood draw and processing fee a reasonable reimbursement paid for for the service performed by our MA to perform lab work as it covered our internal cost of providing our patients this service. Nothing more. No profit is or has ever been made by Dr. Retzler on ordering lab work. Lab work is and has always been the responsibility of the patient and / or their insurance provider. As you may remember, during the time we received the $20 blood draw processing and handling fees from HDL to cover our cost of providing this service we never charged you (our patients) for blood draws or processing.
The information provided above is for reference only and does not substitute in any way for legal advice from your own legal counsel.