3rd payers can be tricky to navigate particularly when it comes to getting paid.

I’m talking about TAC, WorkCover, DVA, Medicare and other smaller organisations such as the Multiple Sclerosis society.

In my experience TAC and WorkCover can take quite some time to pay. DVA or Dept. Vet. Affairs on the other hand are usually pretty efficient. Medicare works fine as long as you are online and smaller organisations are usually no brainer, meaning they just work.

So let’s talk about your practice’s procedures first and foremost.  You need to decide if you plan to provide accounts to your patients and for all or some of your 3rd party payers. I base this on payment history and the type of patient I want to attract to my practice.

Typically, the WorkCover patient tends to present in two ways, either passively or what I call hyper-actively.

Passively refers to that patient who wants the practitioner and employer to take on all the responsibility and rely on someone else paying, so have little regard for number of sessions and how long the process might take, and this includes time off work.

Hyper-actively refers to that patient who is more concerned with the potential stigma attached to being a WorkCover patient and therefore, wants to accelerate their progress beyond what is reasonable.

TAC patients often present in a similar way, i.e. the responsibility falls on an outside locus of control and therefore, becomes passive.

In either case both types of patient will only stay on as patients whilst WorkCover and/or their employer are paying, so not your ideal patient right! Furthermore, neither WorkCover nor TAC support wellness care as a model.

For this reason I prefer not to take accounts for WorkCover and TAC but rather have the patient pay upfront and seek reimbursement directly from their employer. This way there is a forced accountability. This encourages a 3 way communication between you, the 3rd party and the employer which sets up a team approach to getting the patient fully recovered and back fully on the job ASAP.

DVA and Medicare offer efficient online payment processing which means you can safely bill patients and expect payments in a reasonable timeframe. This does take some setting up however, so be prepared to take some time, but well worth it.

In summary, make sure you are clear with your practice’s procedures around 3rd party, decide right from the outset and then stick to it, no exceptions.

About the author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold (Chiropractor) is a Chiropractic Doctor, and Owner, Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre. He is also a Wellness Leader Mentor working with the Wellness Leadership Revolution and running his own program, the Million Dollar Wellness Practice. Andrew shares this ownership with his wife, Dr. Linda Wilson.

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