back to article Delicious irony: Hacked medical debt collector AMCA files for bankruptcy protection from debt collectors

The healthcare debt collector ransacked by hackers, who gained access to millions of patients' personal information, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Retrieval Masters Creditors Bureau, aka American Medical Collection Agency, told the Southern New York US District Court this week that it was seeking chapter 11 bankruptcy …

  1. lafnlab
    Facepalm

    Liabilities

    If the records included health information, they could be looking at serious fines. HIPAA allows fines of up to $50,000 per violation, and it sound like they have around 20 million violations.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Liabilities

      Yes, it "allows" those fines but have they even enforced the penalties to the maximum? I'm not sure if filing bankruptcy and closing the doors would see any fines paid nor any board members ever being held liable whether they fold or not.

      1. Halfmad

        Re: Liabilities

        Doors will close and reopen almost immediately with a new sign on it.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Liabilities

          Unnecessary step. AFAIK the workflow is:

          Company -> Chapter 11 -> Same company.

  2. Jay Lenovo
    Devil

    Let's call it all even

    AMCA: I"m calling about a personal business matter

    Debtor: Hmm... Is this regarding the personal information leak for which I should be monetarily compensated?

    AMCA: (call drops)

  3. spold Silver badge

    Diagnosis

    >>>

    For example, AMCA says it owes IBM $15,299.64 for IT services, and Cablevision is owed $7,679.02, presumably for internet service.

    <<<

    We watched an awful lot of Cable TV Porn (Cablevision- $7,679.02) instead of doing anything... but

    We hired those IBM consultant dudes for two hours (IBM $15,299.64) and they forgot to tell us anything about that security doohickey thing...

  4. John 104

    um

    Sounds like they just weren't paying their bills. What does this have to do with data breach?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: um

      That they are deliberately not paying minor bills to justify chapter 11 to protect them from millions in lawsuits.

      They hope no lawyer is going to go after a bankrupt target who will eventually have to pay their fees

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: um

        Presumably the judge has the ability not to grant protection. Has anyone out there sufficient knowledge of US law to say whether that would be the appropriate course of action in this case?

      2. Mike Pellatt

        Re: um

        Chapter 11 puts an automatic hold on civil proceedings unless specifically lifted (on petition to the bankruptcy court)

        As those of us who followed tSCOg aka Canopy vs The World learnt.

  5. Alistair
    Windows

    Considering my salary and whatnot, I wouldn't be allowed to file for bankruptcy protection for those amounts.

    What is this AMCA? a 22 year old operating out of mom's basement?

  6. ocflyfish

    Not that I want to see any business go under, but there is a healthy dose of poetic justice in this situation.

  7. stu_san
    WTF?

    >>>>

    For example, AMCA says it owes IBM $15,299.64 for IT services, and Cablevision is owed $7,679.02, presumably for internet service.

    <<<<

    So they list at least two debts amounting to ~ $20,000 and they're filing for chapter 11?!? These have got to be under the "small debtors" category, or there are some 0s missing from those numbers.

    Edit:

    Just looked at the bankruptcy filing and their largest creditor is owed something like $108,000. I notice that a significant proportion of their large creditors are law firms. HMMmmm...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They owe Equifax $100,000,000 for a year's free credit monitoring for all those who's data was hacked. Would be lovely if Equifax lost a bucket of money due to their services being used and then dumped into creditor's hell of bankruptcy. One can always dream.......

    1. J. R. Hartley

      That would be a beautiful thing.

  9. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    FAIL

    USA

    It's sad that citizens end up in debt for medical care. It's not like you can walk into a lab, order a bunch of tests, then ask for a bill in the mail. Doctors prescribed these tests.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: USA

      A triumph of free market capitalism over basic humanity and economics, resulting in a total cost per person of more than double anywhere else in the world (except Switzerland), and even a cost to the taxpayer per person higher than anywhere in the EU.

      For worse results than anywhere in the G20.

      Well done. "Socialised" medicine would be cheaper and better, but you can't have that.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: USA

        But the alternative to paying $50 for an aspirin is Stalin and Gulags

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: USA

          Thunderdome isn't an option?

          ("That procedure is covered in full, provided patient defeats Master-Blaster in two out of three trials.")

          1. Dabooka Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: USA

            This has not garnered the respect it deserves.

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: USA

        A triumph of free market capitalism over basic humanity and economics, resulting in a total cost per person of more than double anywhere else in the world (except Switzerland), and even a cost to the taxpayer per person higher than anywhere in the EU.

        For worse results than anywhere in the G20.

        Oh, please, stop with your indisputable facts! Don't you know the US live in a twisted and delusional reality?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: debt vs dead

      US citizen ends up in debt.

      The alternative: UK citizen ends up dead.

      Case in point, my late mother needed an urgent life-saving cancer operation. The NHS was constantly about to do it, but the operation date constantly slipped back. After several months of dates that never materialised, the family finally pooled resources to go private (my own £15k there was taken from funds intended to go towards "getting on the housing ladder"). But it was too late: the cancer had spread to her brain, where it was inoperable.

      The NHS. Where you pay three times over:

      1. Through your years in good health and not using it.

      2. The ultimate price when it fails you in your time of need.

      3. Your relatives who realise too late that the NHS is just fobbing you off, and pay to go private.

      1. J. R. Hartley

        Re: debt vs dead

        Sorry to hear about your mum :(

      2. Is It Me

        Re: debt vs dead

        I am sorry for your experience, but it really doesn't match up with the majority.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Mushroom

          Re: debt vs dead

          That'll be the majority who've never needed a time-critical life-saving operation.

          I've heard figures (from that hotbed of conspiracy theory, BBC Radio 4) suggesting that the proportion of people who win the NHS lottery and get the care when they really need it is only around one third.

          The other two thirds aren't alive to tell the tale. And their surviving relatives get downvoted for just mentioning it, 'cos that's blasphemy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: debt vs dead

            If we're going for anecdotes, a few years back, I was diagnosed with acute appendicitis. They'd chopped it out by the end of the day. When they removed it, it was perforated and gangrenous, so a delay of another day would probably ended up with me being dead, or at least seriously ill.

            Of course, this being on the NHS it cost me nothing, and I still got full pay for the month I was off work. How much would an appendectomy have cost me in the US, given that I'd have the cheapest insurance I could find? What's the chances I'd have been paid a month of sick leave and not just fired?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: debt vs dead

              "How much would an appendectomy have cost me in the US, given that I'd have the cheapest insurance I could find? What's the chances I'd have been paid a month of sick leave and not just fired?"

              Possibly as high as $7900 (ACA-mandated highest out-of-pocket maximum), plus the cost of the insurance itself. (If the provider is in network. If out of network, the insurance may not pay anything, and there's no limit to how much the provider could charge.) Employers aren't required to provide sick leave, but can't fire someone for being out on medical leave.

              Emergency services are provided to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay - but they WILL try to collect afterwards.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: debt vs dead

                Unless you had just changed job and your new insurance didn't kick in for 6months

                Or a doctor not in your network glanced at the x-ray and so billed you for consultation - you did remember to check everyone in the hospital was in your network while being wheeled in didn't you ? It is your responsibility.

                Employers can't fire you for being sick, but employment is at will so they can fire you for no reason while you are sick - they have to just be careful to say it is for no reason.

      3. Patrician

        Re: debt vs dead

        US Citizen ends up dead if they have no money and no insurance.

        The UK citizen gets free treatment at source; I'm sorry about you mum but your experience isn't mine by any stretch of the imagination.

        1. My mother, diagnosed with bowel cancer Jan 2000 - starts treatment before end of same month.

        2. Friends father, diagnosed with stomach cancer May 2012 - starts treatment May 2012

        3. Neighbours daughter, diagnosed with breast cancer December 2016 - starts treatment December 2016

        Unfortunately my mothers cancer was too far advanced to respond to treatment and she passed away the next year, but the other two are still in remission.

        I know that sometimes things go wrong in the NHS but it's still way better than the US system.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: USA

      Yup. I'm in the US, had to have a lab test done, and the lab would not allow the test until they had an order from a doctor. (Which was sent several times, but lab had fax machine problems. Yes, fax.) When test was done, lab put in a claim to my insurance for $317, insurance said lab (by contract) was only allowed to charge $7.62. I got billed for $7.62. (Insurance company paid $0.)

      Those aren't made-up numbers - that's straight out of my medical expense tracking spreadsheet. We also owe over $4000 on a hospital visit - that's what's left after our medical insurance paid its part. "Affordable Care", hmm?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: USA

      Maybe national healthcare like in china? https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/06/18/china-killing-prisoners-to-harvest-organs-for-transplant-tribunal-finds/#653b69a753d4

  10. Mr. A. N. Onymous

    I believe there is a place for corporate officers to suffer corporal punishment in the event of such things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but those aren't cheap.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Part of epic fail - Short sighted

    Have knowledge of this one as a third party contractor.

    Management refused to dedicate proper resources to mitigate predictable risks and vulnerabilities. One man shop for 10+ Linux servers, 50ish workstations. Overworked and under budgeted.

    Not the first time they were hit. Hopefully the last time.

    Security is no longer an inherent luxury, you have to take proactive steps to prevent exploitation of known vulnerabilities.

    Corporate America is still learning about the financial perils of refusing to address these serious threats.

    Hopefully something was learned.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Part of epic fail - Short sighted

      Nah. Not a chance.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Potemkine! Silver badge

    healthcare debt collector

    WTF is that? A subsidiary of B'stards Inc.?

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