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Dr. R. A. Foxworth, FICC, MCS-P

The biggest pain for some patients comes from the cost of care and not their…well, bodies. As deductibles and co-pays get higher, patients begin to weigh the cost of going to the doctor. In a recent article about the rising number of patients postponing care, I read about one patient who was quoted as saying, “I’m in pain every day,” but “it’s not bad enough to go into debt.” Changes within the insurance industry have shifted the financial burden and responsibility of care to our patients and as a result, we need to be prepared to respond to their concerns about costs.

The number of calls coming into my office asking, “How much does it cost to see the doctor?” continues to rise each year. Doctors and staffs simply don’t know up front what it’s going to take to evaluate and treat a patient before they come into their office. So, we’ve taught our staffs to emphasize the quality of chiropractic care and let them know that without an examination and verification of their benefits, we have no way of knowing what that will cost the patient. As a result, patients hang up and call the next chiropractic office listed in the yellow pages or provider network listing.  It took me longer than I care to admit, to realize that I was losing a lot of potential new patients and revenue, by not answering or being evasive about the potential costs.

Working in the second most regulated industry in this country, answering the question is not just difficult, but risky, due to the regulations that govern how much we charge in our offices. Offering cash discounts and new patient specials can potentially land you in hot water. The fines and penalties for dual fee schedules, improper time-of-service discounts, and inducement violations, are simply not worth the risk. So how do we give our patients the information they need and still stay compliant and profitable? By offering a single fee schedule and offering specific, legal discounts to patients who participate in a discount medical plan like ChiroHealthUSA.

When you’re a ChiroHealthUSA provider, you can answer shopper call questions simply and transparently. All it takes is a few simple changes to your phone scripts and your office policy.

CA
When was the last time you saw the doctor?

Patient
I haven’t seen the doctor before.

CA
Will you be using insurance to assist you with your financial responsibility?

Patient
No. I don’t have any insurance; I’ll be paying out of pocket.

CA
By any chance, do you have one of those Discount Medical Plan Organization cards, like ChiroHealthUSA?

Patient
No, I don’t. What’s that?

CA
ChiroHealthUSA is a network that works in conjunction with a Discount Medical Plan Organization, to help patients like you who are uninsured. Members qualify for our ChiroHealthUSA fee schedule and enjoy a very nice savings from our actual fee. For instance, an initial visit in our office can be as high as $250 to $300.00 depending on what the doctor finds, but as a ChiroHealthUSA member, your first visit will not be more than $125. You can apply for membership right in our office and will be eligible for that discount on your first visit. Membership is only $49, and, that membership covers you and your immediate family members for an entire year. As you can see, even with the annual membership fee, it’s an excellent value. Let’s get you in to see the doctor today. Would morning or afternoon be better for you?

Patient
Sounds terrific! How about this afternoon?

Who wouldn’t say yes to this? These small changes cost my practice nothing but paid off in BIG ways. We now see 90%-95% of shopper calls becoming new patients. To download a copy of our sample shopper call script in Microsoft Word format, CLICK HERE.

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