If you are treating patients after serious car accidents, your priority is their recovery. But sometimes, after the treatment is over, medical providers can face an uphill battle to get paid by the auto insurance companies.
Unless there is coordinated coverage, when a patient’s injuries are the result of an auto accident, billing goes first to the patient’s no-fault auto insurance. That includes state-funded policies like Medicaid and Medicare. (Coordinated policies make a person’s health insurance the first payer, while the auto insurance covers any deductibles or copays.) Before doctors, hospitals, and therapists can be paid, they often have to negotiate a minefield of auto accident litigation. Auto insurance providers have become notorious for second-guessing doctors’ professional decisions and denying payment on medically necessary treatments. But medical providers have a options to get their work paid for.
Intervening in Your Patient’s Lawsuit
If an auto insurance company has denied coverage of a patient’s care, that patient may have to file a lawsuit to get their full benefits. Doctors and other medical providers can intervene as medical providers in their patients’ PIP First Party lawsuits. By intervening you can minimize your time and legal fees because your attorney can coordinate and share the work with your patient’s lawyer. You can also file a medical provider lien that makes sure your bill will be paid out of any settlement the patient might receive. By teaming up with your patient against the insurance provider, you may also be able to convince the defendants to negotiate to resolve your claim to avoid you testifying against them at trial.
Medical Provider Lawsuit
Sometimes it doesn’t work to wait for your patient to sue, since as a medical provider you have a short window in which to collect your medical fees. But that doesn’t mean you are out of luck. You can still get your billing paid even if your patient is uncooperative or you miss your chance to intervene. The Michigan No Fault Auto Insurance Act gives doctors a direct action to sue auto insurance providers for any benefits provided as the result of an auto accident.
Defending Your Decisions
In every PIP case you can expect the insurance providers’ attorneys to question your treatment decisions. The defense attorneys will use an “independent medical examiner” to claim your treatment plan is unnecessary or that the injury isn’t related to an accident so they won’t have to pay your bill. The auto accident attorneys at Christensen Law will help you prepare for depositions and testifying at trial, so that your expertise will survive the insurance company’s challenges.
As a medical provider, your priority will always be making your patients’ well. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get paid for your work. The attorneys at Christensen Law have been representing medical providers for over 20 years. They can help you choose the best strategy – through intervention or a direct lawsuit – to get your billing paid so you can focus on your work.