Swati Arora

Lifestyle - Writer
New Delhi - India

    Getting Personal (Injury Patients)

    March 28, 2017

    Personal Injury patients deserve special attention. Many physicians avoid them. Because the case is not reimbursed by normal medical insurance and the patient often is not paid until the case is settled, it can take the doctor several years to collect his bill. Often the case is settled through negotiation and compromise, resulting in collecting a great deal less than is owed.

    But the personal injury practice can be profitable and satisfying when done right. Some of the advantages of a personal injury practice:You can usually collect all that you bill, as long as it is reasonable and customary. Your patients are grateful for no out-of-pocket expenses and the assurance that they will not be stuck with monstrous medical bills they can never hope to pay. You will build up a substantial accounts receivable which will continue to pay out for years even if you stop practicing.

    Photo Credit : pixabay.com

    What qualifies as personal injury?

    First, a little bit about personal injury. What is it? When there is an accident and a person is seriously injured or killed through no fault of their own, the person responsible can be sued for damages. Damages include medical bills. Sadly, the patients do not always receive the compensation they have coming right away and cannot always pay their medical bills immediately. The lawyers from the two insurance companies sort things out and eventually come to an agreement on which company owes how much.

    Often, they cannot agree on what is a fair settlement. There is usually more involved than just property damage and medical expenses. Lost wages, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, etc. can complicate the negotiations. If the amount considered for settlement exceeds the usual numbers, you may find the lawyers calling you to ask you to reduce your bill.

    How to do it right

    So here is what you need to do to ensure a personal injury practice that runs smoothly. First, get a current copy of the RBRVS (the Resource Based Relative Value Scale) published every year by the AMA. This is a table of the average charges of each diagnostic code and each treatment code paid out in the US every year by zip code. Be sure your fees are within the average for where you practice. This will keep you within what the insurance company considers “reasonable and customary.”

    Keep your total bill within what insurance companies consider reasonable and customary as well. If you don’t know what that is, just call one and ask. As long as the total bill and the cost per treatment are within what is usual, the case will settle quickly and smoothly with everybody happy.

    Getting referrals

    Look for referrals. Many physicians don’t want PI cases, so make sure they all know you accept them. Let all the PI lawyers in the area know as well. PI lawyers are good sources of referrals, especially if you have a reputation for keeping your fees reasonable.

    Consider chiropractors as a source of referrals. Chiropractors fear losing PI patients to medical doctors because the personal injury patient often needs therapies the chiropractor cannot deliver. One way to work with chiropractors who have a substantial PI patient load is to rent space from them and hire a massage therapist to treat the patient under your orders. Chiropractic patients tend to prefer treatment that avoids drugs and surgery. They also tend to be less seriously injured. If you can minimize medical intervention and treat the patient in the chiropractor’s office (though legally, the room you are renting from him or her is yours), the patient can get all the care they need and the chiropractor doesn’t lose a patient. Everybody wins.

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