Auto Case Story…..A Lesson to Be Learned
Frustration comes and goes in the life of a chiropractor/small business owner but this past week a few incidents struck a little different. I can almost guarantee that this story is fairly common within the healthcare field that the public does not hear much about but I’m going to tell it anyways just based on the pure scummy/frustrating nature of the story.
A little over a year ago a law firm reached out to me about taking on a patient that had been in an auto accident. (I won’t name the law firm, but it is not local to me by any means) I took the case. Being in the healthcare field, you understand that when you accept cases like this it may take years to get paid and a reduction in fees is normally going to take place. A couple of weeks later, the same law firm called about another person in a different case. I took on that case as well.
Maybe I’m a sucker at this point, but I treated the patients and they were eventually released from care. For every auto case there is normally a MedPay amount that auto insurance is required to cover, but as soon as lawyers get involved it can get messy in a hurry. The cases normally have substantial amount due, because there are no upfront insurance write offs and the goal is to get the patient back to MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement) as soon as possible, so you treat aggressively from the start.
I felt that I took care of these patients very well. They had been to physical therapy and received minimal benefit, so they wanted to try something else. Great, send them our way and we will see what we can do. I think the treatment lasted for maybe 10 visits on the first patient and roughly 15 on the second, this is fairly lengthy for our office but they improved and in my professional opinion had reached MMI.
No additional treatment was going to be necessary on our end. They avoided the medical system to keep them from having injections, surgeries, MRI, advanced imaging or any such things. I honestly thought that I had done my job to the best of my ability.
This past week, we were trying to clean up some claims in the office and old auto cases always come up. I periodically send out a few emails just to kind of check on the status of the claims, I understand that they may not be settled yet, but just from a curiosity perspective one want to know where they stand.
A couple days after I get a few emails back, the attorneys that had asked me to take the cases all of a sudden come in and indicate that they have “disengaged” from the case. The frustration and “dumbfoundedness” hit me like a ton of bricks. So a patient contacts a law firm, the law firm sets the patient up for additional care and then when it’s all said and done tell them that they will no longer represent the patient. I’m assuming there was not enough money involved in the cases for the attorneys to profit, so they just drop the case, this is an assumption, but a good one.
All indications are that the lawyers have their butts covered and that I can send the bills to the patient. I’m not exactly sure what I will do at this point because the patient did everything that they were supposed to do according to the attorney from the start and got left high and dry.
Morals and ethics are something I pride myself on but this situation just kind of struck me a little different. I’m not asking for a pity party but this just screams of a scummy lawyer with little to no ethics or morals.