Ask these questions
1. Is there liability? If yes, continue to question 2, if no, a lien is probably not appropriate.
2. Does the patient have health care insurance with a carrier with whom you participate? If no, continue to question 3, if yes, a lien is probably not appropriate.
3. Do you ever have trouble getting paid by Plaintiff's attorneys? If yes, continue to question 4, if no, a lien is probably not appropriate.
4. Do you want to be second in line to take settlement funds, get paid 100% of your charges from the deep pockets of an insurer, hold up a settlement if you are being ignored, and have a cause of action against a deep pocketed insurer if you are ignored in settlement? If yes, a lien could help you.
Determine who may file a lien.
Only a direct employee of the provider may file a lien, or their attorney. (see UPL Advisory Opinion No. 2004-1)
Serve notice of the impending filing of the lien.
Notice must be provided at least 15 days prior to filing the lien, and must be served upon the patient and any other involved parties where knowledge exists. Service must occur by either certified mail or statutory overnight mail, and must include statements that 1) a lien is about to be filed 2) the lien is NOT against the patient, their property or their assets, and 3) the lien is NOT evidence of failure to pay a debt
File the lien
Once the notice has been served and the appropriate timeframes have been observed, the lien may be filed. For hospitals the lien must be filed within 75 days of the date of discharge, and the lien must be filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court in:
The County of Patient Residence
The County where Hospital is located
The Lien Must Include the following Verified Statements:
Patient Name and Address on Record
Name and Address of the Hospital
Name and Address of the Hospital Operator
Dates of Treatment Associated with the Lien
The Outstanding Balance
The Lien Must Arrive at the Clerk's Office with the appropriate fee. (usually $5-$7)
Enforce the lien
Diligence is the key. Ensure that both the patient's attorney as well as the insurance carrier (which can be retrieved from police reports in many cases) are aware of your lien and your desire to enforce. Follow up with these parties regularly, and be impossible to ignore. Always remember that if your lien is ignored, you can sue the insurance company when the dust settles.
Release the lien
File a lien release with each of the courts where the lien was recorded.
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