If Your Patient Doesn’t Pay and Moves to Minnetonka …
By Ellen Terry


When can laws in Minnesota, Mississippi, Maine, or any other state affect your Texas medical practice?

When a patient with a past-due bill moves to one of those states, and you want to collect.

Fifteen percent of U.S. consumers/patients will require collection efforts outside of the state in which the service was provided within 10 months of the original bill, says TMA endorsed vendor I.C. System, based on an internal analysis of its clients. That’s because the average American moves roughly every six or seven years, and 14 percent of the U.S. population moves every year, the collection agency says, citing U.S. Census Bureau statistics. 

For this reason, consider hiring a nationally licensed collection agency to collect past-due accounts. Debt collection is a heavily regulated industry. Laws vary from state to state, and an agency must be licensed in a state to pursue collections there. Your practice could run afoul of the law if an agency collecting on your behalf is not licensed in the state where your former patient lives.

TMA recommends consistency in sending accounts to collections after 90 days of inactivity. Failure to do so signals to patients that the practice is not serious about collecting debts owed to the practice. See Collection Agency Submittal Do’s and Don’ts for tips to increase your agency’s collection success.

Visit the I.C. System website for free articles and webinars on how to improve your internal collection system or to request pricing for collections services. TMA members receive a 20-percent discount.

Does your practice have established procedures for collecting balances from patients, determining when to turn accounts over to a collection agency, and how to work with the agency? TMA’s Policies and Procedures: A Guide for Medical Offices contains detailed sample policies and procedures that can work for any practice. 


Last Updated On

June 14, 2018

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Ellen Terry

Project Manager, Client Services

(512) 370-1391

Ellen Terry has been writing, editing, and managing communication projects at TMA since 2000. She hails from Victoria, Texas; has a journalism degree from Texas State University; and loves to read great fiction. Ellen and her husband have two grown sons and a couple of cats.

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