Health Care

ADA’s newest exec comes from medical debt collection operation

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The former head of a questionable medical debt collection operation has apparently moved on to a position at the American Dental Association.

Until at least July, Tim Steffl was president of the Center for Consumer Recovery, a not-for-profit group that convinces hospitals to donate medical debt it then collects on using a for-profit vendor, a practice that concerned several industry experts.

The ADA announced on Tuesday it had hired Steffl as president and CEO of its Business Innovation Group, or ADABIG. He will be responsible for ensuring the group is profitable and meets strategic and financial goals. He’ll also create a strategy for scaling ADA practice transitions, a service within ADABIG that matches dentists with practice owners seeking associates or buyers.

“I’m thrilled to be taking on this role with ADABIG and looking forward to contributing to the organization’s continued success,” Steffl said in a news release.

ADA’s release did not mention Steffl’s most recent role at CCR, the debt collection operation. Instead, it said he joined ADA from Dental Dental Plans Association, where he was vice president of strategic development and finance.

The ADA did not respond to a request for comment on whether it was aware of Steffl’s work at CCR, nor did it share a comment from Steffl on why he left CCR. Steffl’s LinkedIn page does not mention CCR; it says he left Delta Dental in January.

Before Delta Dental, Steffl was president of Pivot Health Advisors, where he developed a commercialization strategy for a large health system. His longest career stint was at the American Hospital Association, where he worked as chief operating and development officer and vice president for AHA Solutions/Health Forum. A resident of Naperville, Illinois, Steffl earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Ohio State University.

Steffl is preceded in the role of CEO of ADA’s Business Innovation Group by William Robinson. Robinson’s total compensation was $344,515 in 2019, the latest year for which the ADA’s tax information is available.

CCR convinces hospitals to donate medical debt they’ve deemed uncollectible by promising to send 20% of collection proceeds to a charity of the hospital’s choice—often its own foundation. To sweeten the deal, CCR’s leaders claim not-for-profit hospitals can report those proceeds as community benefits on their tax forms, an assertion legal experts disputed.

Medical debt experts Modern Healthcare interviewed said they were concerned that CCR’s activity could further stress patients have already been hounded by debt collectors and dissuade them from seeking future medical care. Hospitals have already run the debt they donate to CCR through their own collections processes and deemed it uncollectible.

Steffl told Modern Healthcare in a June interview that when CCR helps people satisfy their medical debt, they’re more likely to see a doctor in the future. He also said he was “very intrigued” by CCR when he was asked to lead the operation, which he said is the first of its kind in healthcare.

“Now we’re ready to kind of bust out and tell people what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and how it makes sense for them and how it helps their communities and how it helps their patients,” Steffl said in June.


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