We wanted to pass along some news to our Massachusetts partners. On Friday, March 27th, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office adopted and issued emergency regulations titled the Unfair and Deceptive Debt Collection Practices During the State of Emergency Caused by COVID-19. A copy of the regulations are located here for your reference. These regulations prohibit certain debt collection activity effective immediately and apply to both creditors (you, as a healthcare provider) and debt collectors (our firm). A summary of the key takeaways from the emergency regulations are as follows:
- The emergency regulations are effective immediately, as of, March 27, 2020.
- The regulation is effective for 90 days (until June 25, 2020) or until the State of Emergency Period expires, whichever is first.
- The State of Emergency Period ends 30 days following the lifting of the state of emergency declared by the Governor.
What Is Prohibited
Creditors and/or Debt Collectors cannot:
- Initiate, file, or threaten to file any collection lawsuit
- Pursue a garnishment, seizure, or attachment to satisfy a judgment
- Communicate in person with a debtor regarding the collection of a debt in any public place at any time
Debt Collectors cannot:
- Initiate communication with a debtor via telephone
What Doesn’t Change
- Creditors can still contact debtors by telephone
- Creditors and Debt Collectors can still send collection letters
- Debt Collectors can respond to telephone calls initiated or requested by a creditor
What We Will Do Next
When we received this news, we immediately began work to identify our active cases that could be impacted by the emergency regulations. We are working to develop updated strategies for each matter that is affected and will be in touch by the end of next week to provide an updated case analysis and recommendations for your consideration.
For More Information
If you have any immediate concerns or would like to discuss this development in more detail, please reach out to Ashley Shudan, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (865) 216-6181.