Debt collection firms should be aware of a rise in activity as healthcare costs continue to increase. According to a report released this week by the Commonwealth Fund, some 30 million Americans were contacted by collection agencies for unpaid medical bills in 2010, up from 22 million in 2005. As costs have risen in spite of a difficult economy, many patients have been unable to cover their dues, forcing hospitals and medical professionals to kick unpaid bills to recovery specialists, The Associated Press reports. Furthermore, this activity appears to be racking consumer credit data. According to the Access Project, roughly 3.4 million Americans have paid-off medical dues lingering on their credit reports. "Congress is considering legislation - the Medical Debt Responsibility Act - that would require credit agencies to delete paid-off medical debt from credit reports within 45 days," the AP reports. "The bill has bipartisan support in the House." Bill co-sponsor Representative Heath Shuler of North Carolina told the source that the healthcare industry sends delinquent bills to debt collectors quicker than any other market sector.