Health care services liens can be a valuable asset when it comes to protecting your accounts receivable from your patients’ other judgment creditors. Health care services liens have always been a feature of the law in this state, but under the Illinois Health Care Services Lien Act, the process by which liens attach (become enforceable) and perfect (establish priority over other creditors) was streamlined.1 It also incorporated in the definition of “health care professional” a number of license categories, including osteopathic, chiropractic and medical physicians, as well as other licensed providers, and discarded the patchwork of laws surrounding the process of setting up liens, which varied depending on the nature of the provider.
Under the law passed in 2003, health care liens attach “to any verdict, judgment, award, settlement, or compromise secured by or on behalf of the injured person.”2 A typical example of this may occur when a patient seeks chiropractic care as the result of a spinal injury stemming from an auto accident. The patient is treated over the course of several months but cannot afford to pay because of protracted litigation surrounding the accident. As treating doctors, chiropractors want to help their patients get better as quickly as possible. However, bills cannot go unpaid at a practice. How do you, as a provider, ensure you are paid out of the eventual settlement or jury verdict?
Robinson, Michael D., The Invaluable Health Care Services Lien: Ensure Providers Get Paid, Illinois Chiropractic Society Journal, (Jun. 2016)