Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program
Quickie Consult 37 OS
"Are You Going to Get Paid?"
I received a familiar call today, one that I have gotten too many times before where the doctor said, "A lawyer called and wanted to know if I can support a case where there was a 6-12 month gap in care." My answer was that you can only report the injuries and regardless of the home care done and the circumstances surrounding the delay in the onset of care, you CANNOT certify that there was no intervening trauma that caused the claimed bodily injuries.
This doctor, as most have done in the past, took the patient and attempted to refer him to a lawyer to fight to get paid for the care he chose to initiate. Previously, in one case, the patient claimed he couldn't get to the lawyer for weeks. All patients had seemingly valid reasons, but in the end, they were all bs with significant amounts of care rendered that left relatively large balances in their wakes!
Most lawyers will confer with the doctor and try to get the doctor to create documentation causally relating the injuries. On rare occasions, that can be done gracefully, but usually it is impossible to make such a statement with a degree of medical certainly with such a large gap in care at the onset of care. In addition, 99% of insurance companies will NOT pay those claims and force you to litigate in order to attempt to get paid. Also, 99% of the lawyers will also NOT take the cases because they are smarter in business and not blinded by the motherly nature to "heal" as us doctors are.
I asked one doctor if the real purpose of the call was to find out how HE could get paid for his care and he said, “Yes.” My answer, “Bill the patient directly.”
Be prepared to NOT get paid unless you sue the patient. Many of these types of patients, not all, but too many, understand the system and will be able to extract care from you at no cost. A suggested guideline is that if the patient has not sought ANY care for a period of 3 months post-trauma, pass on accepting the patient on a personal injury basis. Make other payment arrangements PRIOR to initiating care...or expect to treat for FREE!