Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Administrative Fees

There's been some talk here (and elsewhere) about charging extra "administrative" fees to patients for things that aren't strictly medical in nature, such as filling out physical exam forms for children's sports or camp, and insurance forms. Some also want to charge for expedited referrals, and other administrative services.

I agree in principle (hell, I'll agree to anything that smacks of actually getting paid for what I do instead of having it "bundled" with office visits that often don't ever occur) but I'm having trouble with implementation.

Many offices in my area already charge for completion of forms outside of an office visit, so putting that one into effect went relatively smoothly (except for the lady who demanded her kids' records instead of paying the $25 for three different forms, then sweetly called back a week later, checkbook in hand) but I'm afraid much beyond that won't fly. For now, that is.

In order for an annual "service fee" to work in the context of private practice, it must become the rule and not an exception. If more and more offices (other than "Concierge Practices", which don't do anything different from what I'm already doing without getting paid) were to charge some kind of service fee -- even if only a nominal $20 a year -- I think we'd be on to something. If large practices (those with the least to lose) become "early adopters" they would pave the way for the rest of us. Either that or we --GASP -- work together and all do it at once.

Pros? Cons? Comments?


At Mon Aug 28, 09:24:00 AM, Blogger Big Lebowski Store said...

Thanks for the link. I've just added you to my blogroll.

Frankly, though I'd like to, and it makes economic sense to do so, I can't charge to fill out camp and school forms. My colleagues don't do it, and the Medicaid folks can't/wont pay.




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