Do you make "special plans" for special Patients?

(Robin Dickinson) #1

I’m trying to decide how to balance my tendency to become very attached to patients with my goal to run this like a business. :wink:

I rarely mind when adults leave my practice because of a changing situation, but I’ve been doing DPC for five years now, and it’s hard to see the kids go. I’m often the only doctor they’ve ever known. Occasionally I know for sure I want to keep them no matter what and then I’ll just tell Mom to choose whatever monthly price she can afford for them to keep coming.

But I’ve lately been debating whether to have a secret discounted plan (or offer people my start up prices instead of current prices) in order to stay with me if they’ve been with me long term and are just coming in for the well child checks etc.

Ugh. I’m usually so firm with boundaries. But seeing kids go is hard for me!

(Dr Rob Lamberts) #2

I don’t have a “secret” fee schedule, I just discount where I see appropriate. I don’t see this as being bad business at all; I see it as doing business as I see fit and discounting where appropriate. It’s one of those things I can do with impunity now in DPC that I couldn’t do before.

(Robin Dickinson) #3

Thank you. This is how I usually see it but lately I’ve had a run of patients whose situation caused me to offer significant discounts and I started to question myself. The reality is this is MY practice and I’m doing just fine so there’s no reason to not do what I think is best. Yay for DPC!

(cjs56) #4

Try to find out why the kids are leaving. if price is the only reason, and you want to grow the pediatric portion, then lower the price. You could slightly increase the adult rate or the family rate to compensate for the lowering of the pediatric price. Or, you could give a pediatric patient a free month or two of care if they are able to refer a new pediatric patient to you. Health clubs do this. You can also fluctuate your prices to reflect the type of practice you want…as long as it is all legal. In other words, lower the price for a few months to keep the pediatric patients. Then, if they seem to have more money in their pockets after those few months go by, then raise the prices back up.
Lastly, you could always make an exception and have the pediatric patients sign a form that you will see them without charge as long as they make the payments (pay you back) at a later date. Just ask them (make them sign an agreement ) if they would be able to pay the accululated fees in the next few months. And, make sure the time is not too long. The longer is it, the less likely they will pay it.
They will tell other mothers that this DPC physician is very considerate and let me slide for a few months.
Just make sure the criteria for “sliding for a few months” is not too lenient. Otherwise, they all may ask to do it.
Example: Job loss.
Above all, keep the door open in case the pediatric patients want to return in a few months.