I need help. My office manager informed me that we have a mounting amount of patient co-pay/responsibility. We send out our 3 letters to try to collect, but patients are not responsive. Do I have a duty to send to collections? What's the difference between a collection agency v. a law firm. Can you or your office help me? (So, a few questions!).
Patients not responding to collection efforts are not a surprise. It sounds like, assuming you are not communicating to patients they do not have to pay, assuming when you send a bill you expect it paid, then it is very possibly the 3 notices would be recognized as commercially reasonable efforts to collect; not requiring further judicial determination. Further towards collection, I am not aware of any rule or law that requires a practice to chase patients for balances.
To the extent you have patient balances you wish to collect, yes, we can help. As many of your colleagues are aware, one of our departments of K&K is a collections team, which already helps with many of our clients in collecting. There are BIG differences between a law firm vs. collections agency, as follows (non-exhaustive list); here are some main points—
A law firm can...
- Pursue legal action!! (Not just leveraging empty threats) Debtors will face repercussions that will follow them
- Relationship building - Part of a larger network of lawyers in all areas of practice
- Sometimes its the narrative...Using a law firms letterhead can be intimidating
- Act in compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Act (potential for fines/damages for non compliance).
A Collections Agency is limited to...
- Phone calls and letters primary contact
- Hidden fees
- Take a bigger cut of debt collected
- May eventually have to hand over a debt to a law firm
Have questions? To better explain the collection process and our approach, Kathleen and Laura (of our collection team) have prepared a short webinar - K&K Healthcare Collections webinar. To reach Kathleen and/or Laura directly, email them at KLambpert@kirschenbaumesq.com or LBlondi@Kirschenbaumesq.com, or email Jennifer directly.