A Virginia collection agency erroneously mailed thousands of letters last week for medical bills that likely already were paid, according to officials with Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va. The letters went to patients of New River Valley Radiology, which joined Carilion in 2009.

SCA Credit Services, also based in Roanoke, Va., mistakenly used an old disk containing uncollected accounts from an earlier time period, then distributed an estimated 9,000 letters, according to Carilion spokesperson Eric Earnhart. SCA has put all accounts on hold while working to correct the mistake.

The error was discovered soon after the letters were distributed because the Better Business Bureau of Western Virginia began receiving calls questioning the notices, according to BBB officials.  

Earnhart said the letters notified consumers that a balance existed and that there was no communication about the accounts sent to the credit reporting agencies, so there should be no impact on anyone's credit report.

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