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Thread Topic: patients that refuse to pay
Topic Originator: Pam
Post Date December 2, 2010 @ 10:11 PM
patients that refuse to pay


Pam
December 2, 2010 @ 10:11 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Can a doctor (in private practice) refuse to see a patient that refuses to pay either his co-pay or if uninsured, refuses to pay at all?  

Does anyone know of any legal opinions one way or the other on this?  We've been trying to find out something on this and were told that a doctor had to see an established patient unless he's given 30 days notice that he will no longer be his physician.  We are not necessarily talking about terminating a patient - just refusing to see one that either owes money they will not pay, or refuses to pay their coinsurance, co-pay, or fee before seeing the doctor.

Alice
December 16, 2010 @ 7:55 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Yes, you can refuse NON-EMERGENT services to a patient when they refuse to make their co-payments.  

You can always call the patient's insurer and report them for non-payment as it is a part of the patient's contract with the insurer that they be responsible for such charges.  This tactic may or may not yield results from the insurer but at least you've contacted them.

steve verno
January 7, 2011 @ 7:54 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

You might wish to be careful because you dont want to find yourself at the end of a lawsuit for patient abandonment, or worse if the patient's medical condition becomes exacerbated to the point where their health severly declines because you refused to see them.  

My mother fell and went to her HMO doctor.  He refused to send her for an xray and he refused to apply a sling because her insurance wouldnt pay the $15 he charged for a sling and she was broke as all she made was $500 in social security and her lot rent was $400 per month. I offered to pay and the doctor refused.  He cited HIPAA as his reason.  I came home and found her on the floor in severe pain.  When she sat, she slid to the floor and she couldnt help herself up off the floor.    I applied a sling and swath and took her to the emergency room. The xray revealed a fractured collar bone.  The HMO doctor lost his medical license and was sued for malpractice.  

I suggest talking with the patient to see if there can be a mutual payment agreement that will work for both of you.  Maybe the patient has no income and no money.  Dont threaten with debt collections because that wont work.  Be positive and open.  

My experience is that the insurance companies dont give a rats rectum if the patient doesnt pay their copay, coinsurance, or deductible.

sue
July 26, 2011 @ 3:46 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

why dont your provider gives a monthly installment payment offer to the patient, where the burden reduces, and even provider is at benefit. may be not fully, but better than nothing.

or if he wishes to pay whole lot at a discounted amount, give the patient teh offer, This helps , i tried for the needy patients.

Pam
July 26, 2011 @ 4:07 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

We already do all of that.   I am looking for the best way to handle patients that still will not pay (not necessarily can not pay)

Kelly
August 17, 2011 @ 11:46 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

We send out our regular 3 statments (30 days apart). If they do not payment, they get our warning letter explaining we will terminate relationship if pmt or pmt plan is not established and that we are willing to work out pmt plan etc, if in 30 days, we still have not rcvd pmt, we send them the final letter informing them that due to the lack of pmt on act, they will be terminated from our practice in 30 days. On day 31, they are made inactive. If they make a pmt in full after that time, we will reinstate them as our pts. Until then, no med refills, no apts, no referrals etc. PS. we send the final letter regular mail and registered.

Pam
August 23, 2011 @ 5:22 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Kelly, do you by any chance have a sample of the letter that you send out that you could send to me?

Penny
September 12, 2011 @ 8:37 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Pam, you may also want to hang a nice little sign by the check in desk that states "all payments are due at time of service, no exceptions".  If the patient due in is a chronic non-payer and in a non-emergent situation, then you can refuse service.  Also, on your initial intake forms when seeing a patient for the 1st time, make sure there is a statement in bold lettering that all payments are due prior to session, appointment, whatever or service will not be rendered.  Also make clear what your late fees are (typically .015% monthly) and that 90 days past due is grounds for collection action.  Sometimes it's hard, but you have to keep the business seperate from the doctoring, or the practice will suffer more than the patients.

donna
July 26, 2011 @ 6:34 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

That cracked me up, "rats rectum"...



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