Patients get very upset when my staff goes to collect co-payments and some irrational patient today threatened to sue me if I refuse to see her based on her failure to pay. Is this a real threat? Can I be sued for this? Please advise.
Thank you in advance, Dr. PAnswer:
A patient can try to file a lawsuit for any reason, basically, so could you theoretically be sued, sure. Whether a viable claim exists is a totally different story. Here, you are asking whether a patient with a contractual obligation imposed by their insurer to pay you a co-payment has a legitimate claim against you for collection is laughable. Could a patient report you for refusing to see them to licensure? Sure. Would you be held accountable for such a policy and reprimanded, or possibly worse? Not likely, assuming the patient was not at risk or coming in for any form of follow up care. Are you entitled to adopt an office policy related to payment and then enforce it? Yes. May you terminate a patient for failing to pay co-pays? Yes, so long as proper notice is given and patient abandonment is avoided. Can YOU sue a patient for non-payment - YES!
If you are local (NY/NJ), we are happy to help you collect. Call me with questions on collection. Protect your Practice from "Surprise Bill" disputes. CLICK HERE for OON Disclosure Forms.
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