When you send a patient to collections, you effectively advertise on their credit report that they are a patient of your practice. This is permissable, since this is being done for 'Payment' purposes. However, once the debt is satisfied, the 'Payment Purpose' expires, and the credit report listing becomes a HIPAA Violation.
The credit report entry must be immediately removed, or else your practice could be held civicly liable as well as face OCR fines.
It is critical that the collection agencies that you work with are aware of this and that they will react accordingly once a past due debt is satisfied.
Of course, you should have a current BA Agreement signed by these agencies before sending them any PHI.
Some agencies may not want to remove the names of paid accounts from credit reports. Our advice: If an Agency does not wish to comply, find another agency that will!
Better safe than sorry - go to HIPAA-STAT.com to learn the easy way to comply with the HIPAA Laws