Medical Collections True Tale: A Dental Debt Deadbeat
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Article Title: Medical Collections True Tale: A Dental Debt
Author: Joel Walsh
Word Count: 827
Article URL: http://www.isnare.com/?id=7468&ca=Medical+Business
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Medical collections are costing doctors millions. Here are the
secrets of why patients don�t always pay their bills, from a
With medical collections costing doctors millions upon millions
of dollars in unpaid bills and collection fees, many people have
just one question: Who are these people who are trying to stiff
the doctors who delivered them from great physical pain (or the
flu, hypochondria, not-so-white-teeth, or a nose that didn�t
look enough like Brad Pitt�s)?
Well, I�m here to tell you who these people are, or at least
some of them.
Yes, I admit it: I left a dentist�s bill unpaid for three
OK, so dentistry isn�t technically considered �medical,� but
it�s the same situation: a doctor left in the lurch.
Why did I do such a horrible thing, especially when I, a small
businessperson myself, know how difficult unpaid debts can make
cash flow, and how it could very easily make me persona non
grata in that office?
Why Medical Collections Happen
Or, Possible Reasons for Me Being a Deadbeat
Here are reasons commonly advanced for why people like me might
not pay a doctor�s bill.
1. They don�t have enough money, plain and simple. After all,
if they couldn�t afford insurance, they probably are going to
have trouble with the bill.
2. They don�t care about the poor doctors and either don�t know
about or don�t care about the potential for damage to their own
3. They are chronically lazy, stupid, or just don�t know what
they�re doing. OK, the terms used aren�t quite that specific,
but that�s the general idea.
All of these possible reasons why a patient might not pay could
be pretty discouraging for a practice looking to get the money
it�s owed. After all, there�s not much even the best doctor can
do about a patient�s poverty, venality, or fecklessness.
But is there really so little hope for collecting on medical
Why Medical Collection Isn�t Necessarily So Hopeless
Or, The Real Reason I Didn�t Pay My Dentist�s Bill
I just signed and mailed a check for my outstanding dentist�s
bill. That just goes to show the situation isn�t so hopeless
after all, doesn�t it? Here�s at least one case of a healthcare
practice getting its money back., and after three months at that
No, my financial situation did not improve dramatically, nor
did my slothful ways correct themselves.
Wondering what the dentist did to make me pay? Plead? Cajole?
Shame? Threaten to put the tartar back?
Actually, the dentist didn�t do anything, and that�s the
Here�s what happened: I remembered I had the bill to pay.
I had forgotten ever owing the dentist money. Since I wasn�t
expecting the dentist�s bill, unlike all the bills that come
every month, it got lost in a pile of credit card offers,
appeals to help save trees being cut down to make paper, and
news about really great products for writers. The follow-up
letter reminding me to pay met a similar fate. It probably
didn�t help when I took a trip to Las Vegas and then threw away
the junk mail en masse when I got back.
I finally remembered the bill when someone asked me to write an
article about medical collections. Sure enough, the follow-up
letter (though not the original bill) was there in the pile of
newsletters and friendly reminders from various businesses to
schedule this or that appointment.
The Moral of the Story
If you are a patient, make sure to check your mail for letters
from the doctor�s office. If you�re running a healthcare
practice, follow up with your patients who have outstanding
invoices�a phone call is preferable, since it�s less likely to
get lost at the bottom of a pile of correspondence.
Don�t have time for that? Worried about the legal issues of
collection law compliance? Don�t let that stop you. Go to a
company that specializes in medical collections and accounts
receivables management for healthcare practices.
It�s not about "putting debts in collection" anymore. Many of
these companies offer everything from sending out a few polite
phone calls and letters to end-to-end accounts receivable
management. None of this has to impact your patients� credit
rating or cost you a fortune.
Your office can go back to healing people. Isn�t that why you
got into this business in the first place?
About The Author: Read more of Joel Walsh's articles on debt
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