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Missed compensation. How can I determine if I should take legal action?

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  • Missed compensation. How can I determine if I should take legal action?

    I'd love advice as I think I've missed out on about $30K in pay this year and I don't know what to do.

    Background:
    • I am a derm Physician Assistant (PA) working in a private practice. I am only paid on commission, which is ~30% of my collections for both medical and cosmetic. I work for one Attending MD, who owns the practice.
    • On average, my collections are $35K per month, which means I am usually paid about $11K per month (usually about $7K medical and $4K cosmetic)
    • We switched billing companies about 8 months ago. Since then...
      • I received zero medical pay for 3 months during the transition.
      • Even now (8 months since the switch and 5 months since new biller up and running) we should be "catching up" as collections from earlier months should start rolling in, but my medical pay each month is only about $2.5K (so $4.5K per month less).
      • My work and patient volume has been consistent.
      • All of this means that, according to these rough calculations, I have lost about $30K in income in 2023.
    • Additional challenge: I do not have access to total monthly collections or paid claims or accounts receivable. I also don't have any ability to dive into patient claim level detail if needed. So I am having a very difficult time auditing any of this.
    • Additional challenge: Whenever I bring this up to my Attending, they say "Well, it just needs to catch up." or "It will just take a while for it to come in." Or when I ask for my collections info, the attending says "Well, you can just back calculate your collections from you pay check." Other than this, we have an excellent relationship. However, this person doesn't seem to appreciate that the lost income is affecting me this much.
    Ask:
    • How should I proceed?
      • I want to have this discussion, but I fear it's going to become confrontational very quickly.
      • How can I prove that I have lost pay if I don't have access to any of my billings?
      • If in fact my Attending missed billings during the transition to the new company, do I have any legal recourse?
      • Do I get legal advise? Before I do, does anyone have experience in this or understand my rights?

  • #2
    • I want to have this discussion, but I fear it's going to become confrontational very quickly.
    That does happen when you confront somebody who is screwing you out of money. Guaranteed.

    • How can I prove that I have lost pay if I don't have access to any of my billings?
    Assuming you have a contract that is being breached, you file suit and seek the records during the discovery period.
    • If in fact my Attending missed billings during the transition to the new company, do I have any legal recourse?
    ​Well, I doubt that your professional compensation comes under any wage/hour law so a wage claim with the state may not be available to you. That leaves a lawsuit if your employer doesn't want to pony up the arrears.
    • Do I get legal advise? Before I do, does anyone have experience in this or understand my rights?
    Your rights are addressed by the terms and conditions of your employment contract. If you have one, I suggest you read it and do take it to an attorney for review and legal advice. It's possible that contact by an attorney will convince your employer to straighten things out without costing you a lot of money in legal fees. OTOH, there is the risk that you lose your job over this. But termination, especially in retaliation, could give you grounds for suing for even more money.

    So, bottom line, consult an attorney who practice business and contract law and review your options.​​

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