Friday, November 02, 2007

On getting paid.

Occasionally patients just don't want to pay. Insured patients don't want to pay the co-pays. Self-pays don't wish to pay anything. "Why should I pay, you only talked to me." I don't understand this. As professionals, we make our money by dispensing advice, ie by talking.

It can be difficult to convince get someone to pay you. We are doctors after all, and people can tug at our heartstrings so that we "do the right thing." They'll give us all sorts of sob stories, and your staff will wish to waive your fees or to "bill them later." Resist this temptation. You have bills and obligations and are in no position to waive anything. If staff wishes to lower fees for a particular patient, they can take it out of their own salary rather than yours. Just my opinion. Here is how to minimize getting stiffed from patients.
  • Take credit cards
  • Have pay plans through outside companies (eg CareCredit)
  • Get the co-pay before the the patient is seen
  • Unable to verify coverage equals no coverage equals money up front
  • Unsure of benefits equals no coverage equals money up front
  • Don't be afraid to play hardball, which includes collections and litigation
The IU.