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VanderSloots to be honored with award for creation of Idaho Medical Debt fund


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IDAHO FALLS — The Alturas Institute plans to honor Frank and Belinda VanderSloot for their creation of a consumer protection fund that defends Idahoans from excessive attorney fees in medical debt collection cases.

The couple will be presented with the John and Abigail Adams Award at a dinner Feb. 1. The award reflects the mission of The Alturas Institute to promote equal protection of the law.

“The principle of equal protection of the law rests on the assurance of legal counsel and access to justice,” Dr. David Adler, president of the Alturas Institute, said in a news release. “The VanderSloots’ creation, and generous funding, of the defense fund provides legal counsel for many Idahoans who could not otherwise afford legal representation, which would deny them access to justice.”

The VanderSloots created Idaho Medical Debt last year following a series of stories about aggressive medical debt collection practices in eastern Idaho. They have contributed $1 million to represent more than 200 citizens embroiled in debt collection cases. The VanderSloots have also proposed legislative reform to help protect consumers.

“Through this program, the VanderSloots are extending the time-honored and hallowed American principle, bolstered by John Adams’ defense of Tories during the American Revolution, of providing legal counsel and access to justice,” Adler said.

The dinner will be held Feb. 1 at The Hilton Garden Inn in Idaho Falls. A reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program. The Honorable Ryan D. Nelson, U.S. Circuit Court Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Bart M. Davis, the United States Attorney for the District of Idaho, will speak at the event.

Tickets are $45 and are on sale at the Alturas Institute website. Seating is limited.