It’s a fairly common scenario: You’re in an auto accident and don’t particularly want to call your local 1-800-let-us-refer-you-to-a-doctor hotline because, well, you have your own doctor! (Please understand that this blog isn’t a commentary about, or a reflection of my opinion about, referral hotlines.) Instead, it is an attempt at addressing why, exactly, your primary care physician treats you like kryptonite when you call his/her office to seek help after a crash.
In a word? Lawyers. I mean, let’s be honest, everything is a lawyer’s fault, right? It’s OK, I’m no stranger to it.
Why the primary care physician might be hesitant to see you
With primary care physician practices, you run into a couple of problems:
If you’re injured in a crash, your attorney should handle your file from the moment you meet. There should be a clear understanding and anticipation that your claims might very well end up at trial.
With this in mind, your attorney knows he/she will require testimony from treating physicians related to any number of things. These could include relation of injuries to impact, permanency, medical necessity for past and future treatment, etc.
Your primary care physician has absolutely no interest in, and will not, become involved in a case in which he or she may have to testify at deposition or in front of a jury.
Of course, there are some times that it is unavoidable, but PCP’s are not going to sign up willingly.
So, the best way to avoid it is to refuse to treat crash victims.
If you’re reading this (one of my 3.7 raving fans, that is), you probably already know that when you’re in an auto accident in Florida, your PIP coverage is primary.
Well, dealing with billing and collections in the PIP world is entirely different than dealing with major medical/Medicare. It is entirely statutorily driven with timelines and deadlines and methods of submission. I’ve never met a PCP who has been willing to set up billing processes to account for PIP requirements. And since PIP is primary, it MUST be billed. Hence, PCP refusal to see you.
What are your options?
Typically, when you call your PCP office following an auto accident, you’ll get a very hasty referral to another practice – a chiropractor, or some sort of multi-disciplinary practice set up to handle auto claims.
Please keep in mind that you have no obligation to seek treatment through any such referral. For medical and legal help, I always recommend PERSONAL referrals to those you want to assist you.