Charging For Noncovered Services

I received this wonderful note the other day:

Chip, I enjoyed reading the article “Charging for Non-covered Services in Your Practice” in Your Best Practice. I was delighted to see your comments and wanted to let you know that we are now in our second full year of the program and it is going well. The sample letter for giving patients notice is our letter (from 2007) word for word so I am happy to see that it was held in such high regard.  And as the article mentions, I’m not sure we make money with this program, but we don’t lose and it certainly helps set patient’s expectations. Interestingly, we did have some vocal opposition from patients but only 2 families left the practice. And as an added benefit, it has made our staff even more customer service oriented as they know an “Opt in” patient has paid extra for their service.

I have to admit – at first I was confused, as I didn’t remember speaking to anyone called “Your Best Practice,” but then I learned this is an extension of Physician’s Practice magazine.  A ha.

You can read the entire piece here, and I encourage you to do so (I’m talking to you Brandon!).  I wrote back to this doctor – to whom I am quite grateful – for some followup:

We collected $13,185 from 7/1/07 to 7/1/08 for our non-covered services program. We do allow patients to Opt Out of the program and schedule an office visit for the services. We also do not bill our Medicaid patients. On the negative side, we must stay vigilant because there are the families who simply ignore the program. We treat these as opt out and require a visit.

What can I tell you about this group?  They’re a small group in a town with plenty of competition – they are far from the only option and not any kind of powerhouse (except their practice management skill!).  They are also part of a larger affiliation, none of whom has followed suit.  Mass exodus of patients?  No. More income? Yes. Better staff performance? Yes. I love this line:

And as an added benefit, it has made our staff even more customer service oriented as they know an “Opt in” patient has paid extra for their service.

Something to consider for your office? YES.

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