If it's free, it's worthless

March 1, 2017

If it’s free it’s worthless



Do you offer professional courtesy or discount your fees to patients for any number of reasons?  Perhaps you adjust the fee for scar repair when a patient has already entrusted you with the surgery which caused the scar.  While you likely believe your patients appreciate this consideration, and they may have well expressed their thanks, we recommend you make clear the extent of your graciousness. ­­ An invoice which displays both your usual charge and the adjusted amount will quantify just what the value is of your deliberate thoughtfulness.  


Surveys of patients confirm that when a service is provided free of charge with no explanation of the value, it is deemed less of a benefit than when the patient knows what they would have been charged. In the politest way, you want to show the billable value of your time and attention.


This is even more impactful when a professional courtesy is extended to another health practitioner.
Make sure your billing system can produce the original invoice and simultaneously input the discount.  You don’t want to be embarrassed by having another doctor receive a dunning notice from your practice!


You can follow up patient discounts with a letter if you wish, which includes wording something like this:
This office is pleased to apply a one-time $$$$[insert the applicable amount] discount in appreciation of your patronage.   Don’t extend this courtesy to patients who are regularly delinquent in payment unless you describe the discount as a prompt pay incentive.


Also, be mindful of any contractual agreements with insurance payors which could prevent you from offering a discount.


The DBA team has expertise in framing these messages to put your practice top of mind for your target market. 


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