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VanderSloots receive Adams Award from Alturas Institute

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IDAHO FALLS — Frank and Belinda VanderSloot were honored Saturday night by The Alturas Institute for creating a consumer protection fund that defends Idahoans from excessive attorney fees in medical debt collection cases.

The couple was presented with the John and Abigail Adams Award, which is meant to reflect the mission of The Alturas Institute to promote equal protection of the law.

Dr. David Adler, president of The Alturas Institute, presented the VanderSloots with the award and praised their efforts in establishing the Idaho Medical Debt legal defense fund.

“The VanderSloots have called upon the Idaho legislature to pass meaningful legislation that protects Idahoans,” Adler said. “I predict it will be passed into law and surrounding states will look to it as an example in creating their own legislation.”

The VanderSloots created the fund last year following a series of EastIdahoNews.com 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.

“There are so many other people deserving of this award and we are honored to receive it,” Belinda VanderSloot said.

Frank VanderSloot explained he and his wife became passionate about this issue after a Melaleuca employee experienced major legal problems and fees over a medical bill she claims she never received. VanderSloot said he and his team have heard hundreds of stories of people in similar situations who don’t know where to turn for help.

“Belinda and I did what anybody else in this room would have done,” Frank VanderSloot said in accepting the award. “We have been blessed with resources more than I ever could have imagined and we want to use those resources to help others.”

The Melaleuca CEO was in Boise earlier this week where he met with several lawmakers to explain the proposed Idaho Patient Act. The law would provide medical practices and hospitals with specific guidelines on how they bill patients, and how they collect on unpaid or delinquent debts. It would also cap attorney fees in medical debt cases.

Ryan Nelson, Circuit Court Judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Bart Davis, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho, also spoke at the event.

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