Academy of Chiropractic’s Lawyers PI Program
Office systems & Admissibility #25
From the Desk of :
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
“Get Paid with No Lawyer and No 3rd Party Payors”
Disclaimer: This is provided for your information only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with an attorney licensed in your state on this process and the procedures requried.
Doctors are entitled to get paid. It is not greed or corruption, it is simply fair exchange for all the sacrifices we have made in order to become doctors and all the time we have been forced to be away from our families to care for others. Over the last 20 years, the carriers have painted us as greedy and unethical to the public in a brilliant business move in order for them to be able to steal from policy holders and doctors alike and it has worked. We need to learn by example on how to be better business people and work within the law at the highest ethical standard to be paid in every scenario. The days have passed when we as a profession can be magnanimous about writing off services performed as was the case in years gone by.
One such scenario is the patient who enters your office in a motor vehicle accident representing themselves with no lawyer and no med-pay benefits. This is inclusive of no-fault benefits that have expired with no arbitration opportunities as care has been denied and already gone to arbitration but the patient asserts they are representing themselves in an attempt to get paid by either the first (their auto insurer) or third party in the accident.
Filing Uniform Commercial Code Liens
With those patients, you should consider filing a UCC or lien against their “real property.” This is a mechanism that will dramatically increase your chances of getting paid… eventually. I DO NOT RECOMMEND filing a UCC for every case, especially those with lawyers as some have suggested. Once there is a lawyer in the case and you file a lien against your client’s real property, you will be legally force the lawyer to pay all of your bills first before they take any money and although you will win that ONE case, the lawyer will likely strongly urge every other client they have to NEVER work with you again. In short, you will “win the battle and lose the war.”
You have to understand that your goal is NOT to use the lien, it is to have it as a back-up should the patient not be able to secure payment for services from the carrier as promised. It is then that you maintain the hold the patients “real property.” Should your services be paid, you then release the lien as you are not entitled to get paid a second time.
Let’s explore liens: First, I will post definitions and then below, I will outline the procedure to effectuate the lien and protect your payment for services.
PROCEDURE: In order to file a lien, type a Google search “File a UCC in New York” (substitute your state.) From there you will find the forms, filing fees and procedure to follow. You can hire a local attorney to do this for you, but it is a process you can do independently if you choose.
Then you wait until the patient sells or tries to collateralize thier property. This is not a "get paid now" scenario, but you will get paid eventually and keep in mind that this will only be a small percentage of your patients, but you are entitled to get paid on 100% of your services. I am a very patient man and I am willing to wait.
Again, you might want to consider consulting a local lawyer on this process.