Thank you for your question.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, if you send written communication to a debt collector which asserts that you do not owe the debt on which they are trying to collect and show proof that you have already made payment, then the debt collector must contact the original creditor (here the medical provider) and confirm that the amount is owed.
The debt collector does not actually have to share that information with you. Once it confirms that the debt is owed, it may continue with its collection efforts. You may notify the debt collector in writing that you are disputing the debt and that you are providing them notice pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that they may no longer contact you by phone or in writing and that if they want to attempt collection they must file suit on the debt.
This does not prevent the collection from showing up on your credit report
. You may dispute the amount due with the credit reporting agencies too by contacting them in writing and showing that you have already paid the debt.
The only way to truly dispute the debt is to file a lawsuit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and prove they are attempting to collect an uncollectable debt. If you win the case, you are entitled to your actual damages (loss of credit), penalties up to $1,000 and costs and attorney's fees.
Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.