Heywood: collection notices sent in error

By GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News

Published: 02-01-2023 4:39 PM

GARDNER — Following a series of posts made on social media by confused patients, Heywood Healthcare released a statement Tuesday afternoon clarifying that collection notices sent to area residents were sent in error and apologized for any “confusion or inconvenience.”

The notices, according to the release, should be disregarded. Heywood Healthcare operates both Heywood and Athol hospitals, Heywood Medical Group and the Quabbin Retreat.

Heywood Vice President of External Affairs Dawn Casavant said in the statement that Heywood, employing a practice she called “common in the healthcare industry,” had sold some old receivables—bills for services provided prior to February 2021—to a company called Pendrick. She said Pendrick, described as a “reputable firm,” hired Phoenix Financial Group, “who began aggressive collection tactics.”

Saying this was inconsistent with the sale of the accounts to Pendrick, Heywood asked the company to halt all collection efforts as they relate to the receivables in question.

“We have asked Phoenix/Pendrick to stop all collection efforts and will no longer be doing business with these organizations,” said Casavant.

She went on to explain that Heywood contracts with several third-party organizations “to support our financial health. You may be contacted by one of these organizations about a previous balance,” she continued. “They will be working with you on balances for visits (February 2021) and forward.”

Casavant further clarified that only Phoenix/Pendrick had been asked to cease collection efforts and urged anyone with concerns about the legitimacy of any collection agency contacting them on Heywood’s behalf should call the customer service line at 978-630-5745.

Casavant said no one’s credit will be impacted by attempts at collection by Phoenix/Pendrick.

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Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com.

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