Have a policy in place for review of accounts outstanding more than 60 days on which no action has occurred.
Q: When is it appropriate to send an unpaid bill to collections?
A: This depends on the type of practice and the situation in which the patient finds himself or herself and in the nature of the services and the coverage. However, there should be a policy for the review of accounts outstanding more than 60 days on which no action has occurred.
At that time, each patient should be contacted, and if there is no attempt on the patient's part to begin some form of regular payment, then the account should be considered for collection. This situation assumes that no extenuating circumstances exist and that the practice has exhausted all forms of third-party reimbursement.
Answers to readers' questions were provided by Alice G. Gosfield, JD, Alice G. Gosfield and Associates, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and A. Michael La Penna, The La Penna Group Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan. Send your practice management questions to firstname.lastname@example.org