In recent months a number of our MedCollect clients have asked whether they can attempt to collect from a patient’s estate after the patient has passed and, if so, how to go about it. Whether to attempt to collect a patient’s account balance after their passing is a business decision every healthcare organization must make, and if yours has decided to pursue these balances there are a few key regulations to consider. Please note that the regulations discussed in this article are part of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and therefore apply to third-party debt collectors, like your medical collection agency.
Your receivables management partner should be monitoring and adapting to the ever-changing regulations in both the health care and debt collection industries on your behalf. However, there are a few reporting best practices you should follow to ensure that your agency, and your practice, can maintain compliance. In this article we will discuss the most important information you should be sharing with your medical collection agency or RCM partner on a regular basis.
Both healthcare providers and medical collection agencies alike hear a common complaint among patients who have been sent to bad debt: “I didn’t know I owed a bill.” More than likely your healthcare organization has a procedure in place to send several statements over a period of time, and best practice organizations will also follow up early and often by phone.
But must you also notify the patient prior to sending them to collections?
“Stop harassing me!”
Hopefully you have not had this conversation too many times in your attempt to collect a past-due balance from a patient, but chances are you or someone on your patient accounting team has heard this before.
Whether to credit report your patients’ overdue medical debt is a business decision that must be made by healthcare leadership in every organization, from single-provider practices to health systems. It can be a difficult one to make when your organization is in the business of providing care.
With so many regulations surrounding the collection of debt within the medical industry, it can be difficult to understand what your rights and requirements are as a creditor. One of the most frequently asked questions that we are asked is: When can I send a patient to collections?