Can Physicians Charge Interest in a Personal Injury Case?
Performing personal injury coaching with Personal Injury Training Institute I am frequently asked “Can physicians charge interest in a personal injury (PI) case?”
Defined – Interest is money paid at a particular rate for the use of money lent or for delaying the repayment of a debt.
Many offices do not charge interest. There are some who influence physicians to not charge patients interest. What works in some businesses may not work in others. In most states, charging interest in healthcare is an option. It is the choice of healthcare Professionals to charge or not charge interest.
Depending on government rules, interest may be charged on outstanding balances. Of course what a healthcare facility does must be contingent on the laws, rules or regulations of your area. Additionally, agreements must be in writing and signed by the patient. Standard policies should be written and available to patients and payors. Interest should be charged monthly via computer software. If no agreement exists with the patient, I strongly recommend against after-the-fact adding interest to a case.
Doctors loan patients money via services. These “loans” could add up to thousands of dollars! It may take months to many years to be paid on this loan and all the while the office expenses continue including rent, utilities, staff, and time spent on said loan, etc.
In Utah there are laws regarding interest. Specific to PI, I refer you to 31A-22-309 Limitations, exclusions, and conditions to personal injury protection (PIP).
5) (a) Payment of the benefits provided for in Section 31A-22-307 shall be made on a monthly basis as expenses are incurred.
(b) Benefits for any period are overdue if they are not paid within 30 days after the insurer receives reasonable proof of the fact and amount of expenses (1) incurred during the period. If reasonable proof is not supplied as to the entire claim, the amount supported by reasonable proof (2) is overdue if not paid within 30 days after that proof is received by the insurer. Any part or all of the remainder of the claim that is later supported by reasonable proof is also overdue if not paid within 30 days after the proof is received by the insurer.
(c) If the insurer fails to pay the expenses when due, these expenses shall bear interest at the rate of 1-1/2% per month after the due date.
In Utah, Personal Injury Protection PIP law requires automobile insurance companies to pay monthly. That is, of course, if all things are in order. It behooves healthcare facilities to know what must be in order. Additionally, the billing department should make sure policies and procedures are in place to have all things in order. This will reduce delayed payments and expedite payment process. If payments by carriers are not done accordingly, then interest can be charged and collected. Detailed methods are taught in personal injury trainings – Module II.
Since automobile carriers may delay payments, charge them interest! Learn what is allowed in your state then decide what to do in your business.
The contract with the patient is another issue. It is my opinion physicians should charge interest. However, the appropriate paperwork (signed by the patient) should be in order before doing this. This paperwork is available on PI Office.
Certainly the primary concern is collecting principle. In development and building of successful Personal Injury practice, interest charges can add up to thousands of dollars per month. Interest payments can assist practice income in many ways. For more information, attend our trainings and/or consider Personal Injury Consulting with Dr. States.
Dr. Jeffrey A. States consults – coaches physicians, and attorneys in personal injury (PI) problem resolutions and building personal injury practices. PI Training Institute is the original and foremost personal injury program providing consulting, instruction, products and training for day-to-day PI practice needs. His leadership role in this industry assists physicians and plaintiff attorneys in personal injury problem solving.
Dr. Jeffrey A. States has been a research assistant with dummy and human volunteer in real car crash research. Dr. States has authored articles, books and lectured on MVC occupant injuries. He is the lead instructor and consultant for Personal Injury Training Institute assisting doctors and attorneys in working together for better outcomes regarding personal injury cases.
He is certified in:
• Disability Analyst
• Board Certified Impairment Rater
• Advanced Certified in Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Injuries
• Low Speed Rear Impact Automobile Collision Reconstruction
• Automobile Crash Forensic Risk Analysis
• Trained in Functional Capacity Evaluations
He speaks throughout North America teaching attorneys, physicians, lay individuals and insurance company employees about Motor Vehicle Collision Occupant Injuries (MVCOI). He has spoken at many different chiropractic and medical schools. He has successfully testified in many MVCOI and workers’ compensation cases. He was a reviewer of the Utah Labor Commission Impairment publication 1997, 1998 & 2002. He is the immediate past president of the North American Academy of Impairment Rating Physicians.
Dr. Jeffrey A. States founded of Personal Injury Training Institute in 1996. He is a 4th generation chiropractic physician; he graduated from the National University of Health Sciences in 1986. He was in active practice in Salt Lake City Utah for 18 years. His current practice is strictly limited to performing second opinion, board certified impairment ratings including special evaluations of workers compensation and personal injury trauma patients. His current work is used in personal injury and workers compensation case management, settlement procedures including negotiations, trials, hearings, arbitrations and mediations.
2.Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Application filled out by the injured occupant. Personal Injury Training Institute as specific procedure to expedite this procedure and limit automobile insurance companies disadvantage procedures.