Is it ever too late to bill a patient?

July 4, 2008

How long after I treat a patient may I bill him for my services? Bills were never sent for some patients I saw between 2002 and 2006. May I bill them now?

How long after I treat a patient may I bill him for my services? Bills were never sent for some patients I saw between 2002 and 2006. May I bill them now?

Sure, but practically speaking it will be difficult to collect in 2008 for services rendered in 2002 or even in 2006. You could try calling patients to remind them that they inadvertently weren't billed for services they received on certain dates, but don't count on them to take the news well or pay you. Rather than fretting over debts that are probably uncollectible, focus on preventing this from happening again. If you don't already have automated statement processing in place, start using it. Also, make sure your billing manager understands how to switch payment responsibility to patients when insurers reject claims.

Send your practice management questions to: PMQA Editor, Medical Economics, 123 Tice Blvd., Suite 300,Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677-7664, or send an e-mail to mepractice@advanstar.com (please include your regular postal address).

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