Ask Caryl: Delinquent Patient Accounts

Q: When should a delinquent patient balance be turned over to a professional collection agency?

Caryl Serbin: An account is considered delinquent when it has not been paid in agreement with your facility's collection policy. If payment was not received at the time of service, ideally it should be received within 30 days after the service was provided. After that, collection efforts should increase during the next 30-60 days. If the account remains unpaid at 60-90 days, then send a final notice to the account holder alerting them that the overdue balance is being transferred to a professional collection agency. If there is no response to this notice, transfer the account.

To summarize:

  • 0-29 days — Initial statement/friendly reminder of balance due    
  • 30-59 days — Request payment in full immediately or request that they contact the business office to make payment arrangements.
  • 60-89 days — Demand letter requesting payment in full immediately or account will be transferred to an outside collection agency.
  • 90 days — Transfer account to an outside collection agency.

Have an ASC revenue cycle question? Ask Caryl by emailing caryl@serbinmedicalbilling.com or fill out the form at the top of this page.

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