Feature Article: August/September 2022 – Medical Collections Made Easier

Medical Collections Made Easier

Jeff Morris

As a practitioner, you are no doubt aware that your bills often go unpaid. Statistics bear that out. According to Healthcare in America, over 50% of patients owe $1,000 or more to their doctors. And billing errors are a major cause of unpaid bills. 

Medical billing is a complex and often difficult process that is an integral part of any practice, whether patients are using insurance or are paying their bills out of pocket.

Medical billing errors are bad for both patients and practices—and can result in patients’ insurance companies rejecting their claims. Experts estimate that anywhere from 30% to 80% of medical bills contain errors, with the higher number trending more in recent years due to the transition to paperless billing and the advent of ICD-11. ICD-11 contains four-times more codes within it than ICD-10, leading to a problem with careless mistakes made by billers and coders.

This complex environment is why Research and Markets estimated the medical billing outsourcing market would hit $8 billion by 2026. Outsourcing continues to grow in popularity among practices because it makes their daily operations run a little smoother, but it’s not always the perfect option. By outsourcing, they run the risk of choosing a vendor who doesn’t have the best compliance practices, or adequate functionality within their system to deal with all situations. Enter the Medical Fee Recovery program. 

The Medical Fee Recovery program, a division of ActiveItem Billing, was developed as a result of health care attorneys assisting medical providers with the collection process as it relates to corporate payers (such as insurance and as distinguished from your patients). In fact, they do not perform collection services for receivables owed by patients. The program offers providers a significant method to collect lost revenue based on two simple questions: 

  1. Do you bill insurance for any medical, rehabilitative or other health related services?
  2. Do you have Accounts Receivables more than 120 days old?

“That’s it. It is really that simple,” said Paddy Deighan, J.D., Ph.D., founder of the program. “We can collect money that your current system cannot. The reason is also simple: we have the tools, experience and expert, certified staff to achieve results that very few practices can achieve. Add experienced health care attorneys to enforce state laws, and you have a winning combination.”

“I ran a network of dermatology and plastic surgery practices across the country, actually the largest in the world,” said Dr. Deighan. “Collecting is often a problem for doctors, and dermatology is usually worse, because insurance doesn’t always cover all procedures.” Dr. Deighan said that was when he realized doctors needed help to recover all those payments. His firm put together a team of experienced attorneys who utilize state laws designed to protect patients to make insurance companies pay. “We threaten them with the penalties,” he said. “When the companies get our letter, they know we ‘get it,’ so they pay up, and we collect a larger amount than is typical.” They accept a percentage of the recovered payments; there are no upfront fees.

Dr. Deighan said he doesn’t like to quote average payments, because there is no average doctor. “It really depends on the practice profile and the existing staff,” he said.

“Billing and coding have changed a lot over the last few years, and staff often have not kept up. Doctors often think there’s no way to collect these fees and write them off. Every medical practice has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in aged accounts receivables that are deemed to be ‘uncollectible.’ These are typically more than 120 days old since initial billing. Once billing has reached this stage, it is highly unlikely that a medical provider will collect the fees they are owed.”

 The reason is that most practices are not capable of collection at this stage, either because procedures were improperly billed and subsequent efforts did not correct this; insurance companies are aware of which practices they can avoid paying, and once a provider is on a “list” it is more likely that their claims will be denied or remain unpaid; and billing staff are inadequately trained. 

“Our programs have been in existence since 2015, built on a foundation that began 40 years ago,” said Dr. Deighan. “Our staff is highly trained in ICD-10 and ICD-11. Most medical billing staffs have minimal training in the complex array of codes. Billing and coding certification courses were 3-4 months long in the recent past; now they are one to two year courses, frequently on a college level. One of our participating attorneys has reviewed thousands of practices over 30 years and he has yet to find one with a fully trained staff.” 

Dr. Deighan said the core of Medical Fee Recovery is having attorneys and certified billing and coding experts who are on your side, know how to collect the fees you have earned, and know the secrets that insurance companies will never tell you. “One of our attorneys is the former American Bar Association Chairman for Insurance Law,” said Dr. Deighan. “He knows the game. Our attorneys researched your rights in all 50 states and the legal right for you to be paid is the core of our business.” 

The process, he said, is simple: “One form and one simple contract and we will begin to collect the fees that are owed to you. You treated the patients and you are entitled to your fees.” 

In addition, he notes ActiveItem Billing also performs medical billing services, at “very competitive rates,” and can prevent accounts receivable from ever getting too high again.

To find out more, visit Medical Fee Recovery at http://medicalfeerecovery.com or call and leave a message 24/7 at 800-306-2950.