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July 31, 2021

Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law

What Health Care Providers Should Know About the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

  • July 31, 2021
  • Ian Ross , Stumphauzer Foslid Sloman Ross & Kolaya, PLLC
  • Jorge Perez Santiago , Stumphauzer Foslid Sloman Ross & Kolaya, PLLC

Thousands of companies are sued every year under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (the TCPA).1 The attorneys who bring these lawsuits target every industry, but in recent years have focused much of their attention on health care companies and medical providers who communicate with their patients via text message and prerecorded messages. Many courts have held that certain provisions in the TCPA and its implementing regulations are subject to interpretation, and plaintiffs’ attorneys have taken advantage of this uncertainty by filing lawsuits first and worrying about the implications later. Although appellate courts—and even the United States Supreme Court—have stepped in to clarify the scope of the TCPA, it is important for health care professionals to understand the dangers posed by these lawsuits and to make sure that their compliance program and communications with their patients follow the TCPA and applicable regulations. This article will outline the basic structure of the TCPA and explain (1) what it prohibits, (2) the exemptions to the TCPA that have been enacted to protect health care professionals who need to communicate with their patients, and (3) how those exemptions have been interpreted by courts and why those interpretations continue to evolve.

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