After an accident, it's only natural to trust that your therapists have your welfare in mind. Unfortunately, some medical treatment providers have found that there are easier ways to make money than providing the highest standard of care. As you focus on your recovery, watch out for these treatment red flags.
The Case of the Friendly Chiropractor
Years ago, Davis Law Group had a client who had been in an accident and was receiving medical care. Our client was seeing a chiropractor who she considered a friend, and she trusted his judgment about how much care she needed after the accident.
Although we were requesting the bills for these sessions regularly, our client told us that her chiropractor had told her not to worry about the cost.
When she finally was able to send us a bill, the costs for chiropractic care alone came out to over $30,000. For comparison, the usual amount available in for PIP (personal injury protection) coverage is $10,000.
There are several ways that unscrupulous chiropractors can run up a bill. They may recommend far more sessions than their patient actually needs. They might also take far more X-rays than necessary: X-rays are usually taken on the first visit or within the first couple of weeks, so re-taking X-rays many months into a care or if the patient is also having X-rays taken regularly by another medical provider is a sign that a chiropractor may be racking up unnecessary treatments for billing purposes. If a chiropractor is not justifying why they need so many X-rays in their chart notes, or is billing for X-rays with no mention of them at all in the chart notes, that’s a red flag that they are trying to run up their bill.
In this particular case, this chiropractor had also convinced her that he would be receiving money out of her settlement, so she should waive her right to bill her medical and auto insurance providers for this treatment. This is why he was able to bill such a staggering amount—because the chiropractor’s bills weren’t going to an insurance provider or a lawyer, no one was able to tell the injured victim that she was being charged far too much for her care.
Unfortunately, we had to end our relationship with this client when we discovered this. There was just no way we could convince an insurance company that $30,000 was a reasonable amount of money to spend on chiropractic care.
All this could have been avoided if she insisted on seeing a bill earlier in her treatment, if she had insisted on having the chiropractor bill her medical or auto insurance, or if she had spoken with her doctor about how much chiropractic care she should have received after the accident.
The Red Flag Checklist
If you find yourself answering "yes" to many of these questions, speak with your attorney or your primary care physician immediately.
- Is this treatment something your doctor did not prescribe?
- Have you reached the end of the treatment your doctor is willing to prescribe, but your therapist says you still need more sessions?
- Are you being asked to waive coverage by health insurance or PIP?
- Has it been months since you noticed any improvement with this type of therapy?
- Is your therapist telling you that you will need this specific type of treatment constantly for years or for the rest of your life?
- Is this type of treatment something that the average health insurance plan would never cover?
- Is your therapist not showing you your bills when you ask for them?
- Is your therapist not upfront about the price of a session or a full course of treatment?
- Did your therapist’s recommendation for treatment change when they found out you had been in an accident or hired an attorney?