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DENVER (KDVR) — Credit Services Company (CSC) is a Colorado Springs collection agency that according to its website is described as a “Medical Debt Collection with Compassion.”

But a lawsuit filed in Denver District Court says the debt collector doesn’t show compassion or follow Colorado law when it sues patients over medical debt.

Cathy Sullivan and Zachary Waite are two UCHealth patients suing CSC for what they allege were illegal efforts by the company to go after them for medical debt.

Both are represented by the National Consumer Law Center and a Denver based non-profit law firm called Towards Justice that advocates for public policy through litigation.

“Millions and millions of Americans are buried in medical debt,” attorney David Seligman said, who called medical debt one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States.

Cathy Sullivan sought medical help for herself and one of her daughters after her husband suddenly died at the age of 52.

“I was having a hard time losing my husband,” Sullivan said. “It was just a struggle for us as a family becoming a single mom in the blink of an eye.”

It was tough emotionally and financially and ironically the visit to UCHealth only compounded that for Sullivan. “The bill that came to me I thought it was kind of ridiculous how much it was for an hour of service or less,” she said.

When Sullivan tried to ask a customer service agent at UCHealth why she owed so much money, “they told me it was out of their hands and she kept repeating herself.”

Soon CSC sent her a letter demanding more than $2,600.00 dollars after buying her medical debt from UCHealth. 

Attorney David Seligman, who helped filed the lawsuit against CSC said the company misrepresents UCHealth’s debt as its own, something he said the debt collector isn’t allowed to do under Colorado law.

In addition, he said medical providers are supposed to negotiate directly with their patients, allowing them a payment plan to reasonably pay back what they can.

“Providers will hide behind these convoluted and aggressive debt collection agencies as opposed to negotiating directly about the care those patients received and whether the bill is reasonable in light of that care,” said Seligman.

Plaintiff Zachary Waite said when he tried to ask his doctor at a UCHealth clinic why some basic testing for a new patient exam was so expensive he claims he never got an answer, “Just the magnitude of the bill even after insurance was pretty astronomical.”

Instead he was served with a lawsuit from CSC demanding more than $2,800.00 dollars.

“It was beyond frustrating. It was honestly kind of embarrassing to be sent to collections,” said Waite.

Now he’s part of a potential class action lawsuit targeting a debt collection agency who targets those unable to pay their medical bills.

CSC sent the Problem Solvers the following comment after the story aired:

The allegations made against Credit Service Company in the lawsuit are factually incorrect and contrary to well established Colorado case law. Every step taken by CSC is in accordance with the law that applies to our profession and is under the auspices of qualified attorneys. Many of the allegations are just plain wrong; the legal conclusions are all clearly in error.

The Plaintiff’s incorrectly allege that CSC is a medical-debt purchaser. It is not. We act as an assignee to many service providers that are owed money and need help with collections.

CSC believes this lawsuit is frivolous; we have been a compassionate, empathetic, and ethical debt collector for more than 70 years. We expect the Court to dismiss this action and allow us to continue to serve our communities.

UCHealth is not a defendant in the lawsuit but a spokesman told FOX31: “UCHealth works to help patients by providing dedicated customer service specialists who can answer questions and provide financial assistance or payment plans for patients who qualify. We encourage any patients who have questions or concerns about their bills to reach out to our billing customer service team. UCHealth also offers an online estimates tool for patients to help them determine their out-of-pocket responsibilities for care before receiving services.”