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Medical Collections True Tale: A Dental Debt Deadbeat

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  • Joel Walsh
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 9, 2005
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      Please consider this free-reprint article written by:
      Joel Walsh

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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
      Format: 64cpl
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      ================== ARTICLE START ==================
      Medical collections are costing doctors millions. Here are the
      secrets of why patients don�t always pay their bills, from a
      real-life deadbeat.

      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.

      They�re me.

      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
      credit ratings.

      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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      ================== ARTICLE END ==================

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