The collections treadmill
Fam Pract Manag. 2006 Oct;13(9):16.
I read “Getting Off the Collections Treadmill” [June 2006] by Dr. Kristen Dillon with interest. I’ve been using the approach outlined in the article for more than a decade.
I have a few additional tips to offer: If you decide to discharge a patient from your panel, be sure to notify his or her managed care plan, as notification is required in most contracts. When notifying patients that their account will be sent to collections, I send one letter requesting the U.S. Postal Service’s return receipt and I send a copy in a plain white envelope that is addressed and stamped by hand. If only the return receipt letter comes back, you can bet someone got the other letter. A wise collections expert once told me, “The people you send to collections are old pros at the collection game. They know the letter they have to sign for at the post office isn’t from Ed McMahon notifying them that they have won the sweepstakes.”
I am unapologetic about my policies. Too many patients think that all doctors are “rich and greedy.” We have to pay bills just like they do. I find it especially easy to dismiss patients who smoke and then say they “can’t afford” to pay me. They rarely see the irony of sitting in my office with a pack of cigarettes in their pocket when they say such things.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. We cannot respond to all letters we receive. Those chosen for publication will be edited for length and style.
Copyright © 2006 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact email@example.com for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions
More in FPM
Related Topic Searches
MOST RECENT ISSUE
Access the latest issue
of FPM journal