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Sending neighbors to collection?

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  • Sending neighbors to collection?

    I operated on someone in my neighborhood that I see frequently.  This was done over 6 months ago.  They still have a large bill and have failed to make scheduled payments for the past 3 months.

    Would or do you send your friends and neighbors to collections?  Not a fan of this position.

  • #2
    Good friends/Soft approach - I'd have a talk with them, tell them you've noticed they're falling behind on payments, is everything okay?  If they're in a crunch, then make a decision to pursue or not, maybe a different payment plan.

    Random Neighbor/Hard approach - I'd have a talk with them, let them know it's heading to collections soon, you're being a friendly neighbor by giving them some warning, it's out of your hands and there's nothing you can do about it..

    Edit: I've gotten burned in the past so I'm a bit cynical about business/personal life intermingling, but there's too much info missing.  How often do you see them? Are they ducking you around the neighborhood?

     
    I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

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    • #3
      I would have your office do it. That's a consequence of not paying your bills.
      Wouldn't talk to them as it's not you personally doing it, just the cost of business.

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      • #4
        How could this possibly be a friend if he or she won’t pay you for services rendered?

        As for neighbors, I presume you are in a halfway decent part of town. Your neighbor should have equity in a house, car, furnishings, or other assets you could attach. If it’s under the small claims threshold, don’t send it to collections for 30 cents on the dollar: send it to small claims court. Once you get your proof of judgment, get a charging order (or till tap) against each biweekly paycheck, complete with court costs assigned. Hound them for the money owed when they’re dropping their kids off at elementary school. Make it far more painful not to pay you than just to pay the money owed.

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        • #5
          you are correct, Hank.  Not exactly great "friends."  Just someone who is really friendly when their kids need something.

          Probably see them weekly.  But it is more like church and church related functions.  I would not be upset if I never had to speak with the family again.

          As a partner in the practice, I have complete control on if I send them to collections, but I will just have the company do it if the next round of communications fail.

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          • #6


            you are correct, Hank. Not exactly great “friends.” Just someone who is really friendly when their kids need something.
            Click to expand...


            This plus the fact they don't even attempt to pay their bills makes them sound like awful people.


            As a partner in the practice, I have complete control on if I send them to collections, but I will just have the company do it if the next round of communications fail.
            Click to expand...


            Judging by the fact that they seem to be nice only when they need a favor from you, I would probably be even MORE inclined to keep up my end of the deal and send them to collections.

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            • #7
              Our billing company does this automatically. Is collections something you are always notified about? I would stay out of the loop. I've cared for several neighbors and have no idea if they paid.

              But sending them to collections and then dismissing from practice might make for fun entertainmennt the next time they ask you for a favor!

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              • #8
                I’m accommodating to a fault if someone is going through a rough patch and needs a little more time or needs some help. However, if they don’t communicate with you and don’t make any effort to pay you for services rendered...

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                • #9




                  Our billing company does this automatically. Is collections something you are always notified about? I would stay out of the loop. I’ve cared for several neighbors and have no idea if they paid.

                  But sending them to collections and then dismissing from practice might make for fun entertainmennt the next time they ask you for a favor!
                  Click to expand...


                  In our practice we have a standard policy of sending letters at certain intervals.  If the bill is not paid, the provider is given a list of patients to either send to collections or forgive the balance without sending to collections.

                  This patient I have been monitoring on my own because I noticed at the last visit (3 months ago) that there was still a large balance.

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                  • #10
                    Would you write the neighbor a check so he/she could pay you? That is your answer.

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                    • #11
                      Before you send the collection make sure the bill is right. Sometimes the insurance company does not pay for something they should and bounces it to the patient. It might be as simple as appropriate codes. The biller sometimes becomes lazy and does not correct it and takes the easy way out by demanding the patient pay the whole bill. It has happened to us. I had to involve both the other physician's office and the insurance to have the insurance pay them. And I am a physician who is aware of billing details. They might not be.

                      If the insurance has paid and the bill is their portion of deductible or copay, then try and collect from them

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                      • #12
                        I've been in this situation a few times, more so earlier in my career as I become a better at recognizing it ahead of time. The dental prospective may be a little different in that our office typically requires payment up front (estimated copays), but in the past I've held the balances on their accounts ("neighbors") and my office girls know that they are require to pay previous balances prior to any future treatment or services (we would not deny them emergency care if needed though).... this has been my alternative to collections of I choose not to send them

                        Good luck though, never a fun decision

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                        • #13
                          And who is my neighbour?

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                          • #14
                            Maybe a passive aggressive approach.

                            "Oh, I had no idea my office sent you to collections. That's terrible! By the way, why is it that you haven't paid me yet, you look like the procedure went great!"
                            Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                            • #15
                              It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.
                              - Warren Buffett

                              I don’t know what your neighborhood or community is like, but if this is a place where you have friends, your spouse works, your children attend school or you have any social or community involvement... then you have a lot more on the line here than whatever your professional fee for an operation is.

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