Doctors on Lien
The medical process can be quite confusing with countless bills, out-of-pocket payments, legal pileups, and so much more. If you’ve been in an accident or experienced a personal injury, then the last thing you want to worry about is how you’re going to pay for treatment. Legal evaluations of any personal injury case claims can take months to settle leaving you without a way to pay for your much-needed medical treatment.
Luckily, there is an answer in the medical industry – medical liens. Doctors on liens are willing and able to provide you with the medical services you need, even if you’re unable to pay out of pocket and are waiting on the claims to come back with a financial solution. Your health shouldn’t rely on whether or not you have $10,000 ready at any given time because, let’s be honest, very few of us do.
What is a Medical Lien?
So you’ve been in an accident and are seeking treatment for any mental or physical injuries sustained, but you don’t have the money to pay for treatment – what do you do? A medical lien is when a physician provides treatment for injuries sustained via an accident – car crash, dog bite, or slip and falls – but the client doesn’t have the funds to pay for treatment. The insurance company is taking its time attempting to settle the case, leaving the victim without a method of payment.
So, the accident doctor provides care on a lien basis with the intent of collecting payment from the client at a later time. This payment can come from the pocket of the client, the insurance of the at-fault party, or via an attorney lien which we’ll talk about in-depth later. By offering the service to the injured party on a lien basis, the patient received their much-needed treatment and the physicians receive the security of future payment.
The real benefit of a lien is the lack of fees associated. There are no hidden fees, no extra charges, no specialty costs. The doctor on lien will cover the cost of treatment with the promise of being reimbursed at a later point in time. The patient will accept the bill should their claim be denied, and the attorneys will contact the lien doctors to settle on an agreed price. Working via a lien provides protection for the injured patients, the doctors working to treat them, and the attorneys settling their cases.
When Could You Expect a Medical Lien?
Medical liens are typically offered during a personal injury case resulting from an accident. During these cases, the victim of the accident will be waiting for their attorneys and their insurance company to reach a settlement with the at-fault party. This can take quite a while and requires your lawyers to accept an agreement from the other party’s insurance. Once the case is settled, you’ll have the money you’ll need to seek out medical treatment.
However, personal injury cases can take a long time to settle, leaving you without a way to pay for your medical treatment. That’s where the personal injury doctor is required. You’ll need to find a physician who is willing to provide treatment without being guaranteed payment right away. Doctors on liens will typically seek out clients who have just been in an accident and don’t have a way of paying for the services right away. Finding lien doctors to treat your injuries can be hard without a referral.
Seeking Treatment Within 72-Hours
So why not wait for the personal injury case to be settled before trying to find a medical professional? Well, there are a couple of reasons why patients should find a medical provider within the first 72-hours of the accident. First off, some injuries might need to be addressed right away. Pain could worsen without immediate care. The longer you wait, the worse the physical and mental injuries from the accident could be.
Secondly, if you wait around before seeking medical services, you could risk your personal injury case being thrown out. Insurance providers will look for any reason not to pay your medical bills, especially if they’re the insurance of the other party involved. If you wait longer than 72-hours, they could use that as a sign that your injuries aren’t as bad as you might be claiming they are. This could lead to your case getting diminished or even thrown out. Seek treatment right after the accident and let your attorney handle your case.
Finding Medical Providers Who Work on Lien
At the end of the day, medical services are a business that seeks profit. The intentions of the personal injury doctor might be good and the goal of the individual is likely to get you back into perfect health, but the medical industry is run like any other business – profits first. Because of this mindset, it can be difficult to find medical providers who are willing to work on a lien. If you’re lucky, you’re in an area with an abundance of “accident doctors.”
An accident doctor is a physician who specializes in working with clients who have just gotten into an accident. They likely are doctors on lien who can treat the injured with a guarantee of receiving payment at a later date. Not only are accident doctors specialists who focus on the recently injured, but they’re experts at working with attorneys and handling the law system that goes along with liens.
Typically, when seeking an accident doctor to work on a medical lien, you’ll have to specify what type of specialist you’re seeking. There are a number of fields of medicine that offer lien doctors – orthopedic physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, neurologists, and more. Privatized hospitals even offer medical liens to injured patients, solidifying the practice as a genuine form of service.
The quality of your treatment will not go down, either. This is one of the most commonly asked questions regarding lien doctors: do they give you lesser treatment because you can’t pay right away? No, it’s highly unlikely and quite illegal for a doctor to pull certain services just because the patient can’t pay right away. This could leave the physician subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Why Many Doctors Don’t Work on Medical Liens
So, now that we have an understanding of what a lien doctor is, why they’re necessary, and how to find them, let’s take a look at why many professionals don’t provide services on a medical lien.
It can be quite difficult to find orthopedic physicians, chiropractors, PT specialists, neurologists, and other types of medical professionals working on a lien for many reasons. They tend to focus their services in specific areas where accidents are common, so you may not be in a location where lien doctors settle. Here are some of the most common reasons why many medical specialists don’t accept lien payments.
Decreased Pay For Lien Doctors
The chances of the doctors receiving full payment from their patients are drastically decreased when working on a lien. The care they provide the injured will always be top quality and many specialist care centers will pay out of their own pocket for what they need to provide proper care. However, the patient’s personal injury claim could be settled for much less than what they expected, leaving them without the ability to pay the full price to the doctor. The attorney will then contact the lien doctor and settle on a price that resembles 50-60% of what they may have gotten originally.
Risk of No Payment
Just as with the above issue, there’s a chance that the claim gets thrown out and the patients have no way of paying back the lien doctor. They can work with the attorney to receive an attorney medical lien, but it is much more likely that the doctor’s payments will be the first things cut out for the patients. Many lien doctors risk losing thousands of dollars by offering care to lien patients. Doctors on lien often provide care for patients with the knowledge that they might not get paid in the end.
Lengthy Payment Process
It may take years for the case to be settled which delays the payment even further. If the case is thrown out or settled in favor of the other party, an attorney could end up suing the insurance company which may take years to resolve. At this point, the surgeons, doctors, chiropractors, and orthopedics have all fulfilled their appointments and are left waiting around for the money to come through.
Doctors on Liens Lack Protection
There are many legal issues that could arise from a lien case. If the doctors filed the lien incorrectly, the attorneys could use that as an excuse not to pay – one of the most common reasons for a lien doctor not getting paid. The lack of protection is even higher for surgeons and other specialists. Surgeons could find themselves at risk of medical malpractice lawsuits which put them at an even higher risk of losing money on a lien contract.
Bringing an Attorney to the Case
Getting your attorneys involved will be quite beneficial to you. They’ll help sign the doctor’s lien and will search through the paperwork to make sure you’re protected and that if anything goes wrong, the payment will not fall on you. Having an attorney join you may get you the added financial protection you need throughout this legal procedure. If payment is hard to come by and your case is taking forever to settle, your attorney’s firm could offer an attorney lien.
What is an Attorney’s Lien?
Much like a medical lien, an attorney’s lien is essentially a promise to the doctor that the bills will get paid. It’s also known as a Letter of Protection that covers the leftover costs of the doctor. This lien helps protect the doctor and guarantees that they’ll be paid in the end. Your medical provider will be protected and financial blame should be shifted away from you as well. Your attorney can draw up an attorney’s lien at their recommendation or at your request should it become necessary for protection.