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When the economy affects your patients, it affects you too

Posted Oct 10 2008 2:10pm

The economic problems we’re seeing in the housing and financial markets don’t discriminate.  While “the show must go on” in healthcare, and it undoubtedly will, the economic issues our patients are facing affect private practice owners too (read other posts about the impact of the economy on healthcare here ).

Savvy owners will meet the upcoming challenges head on (apply directly to the forehead - sorry, couldn’t resist), and will have plans and policies in place to handle changes in patient and payer mixes that are already beginning to trickle into even our smallest of private practices.

This article  from Peter Lucash at the Medical Practice Business Blog has some great throughts on how to address the situation of a patient losing a job, and how a good practice owner will step up to the plate in a way that is both compassionate and fiscally responsible.

First and foremost, you should have a written financial policy. This policy, which should also be given to patients, would address such issues as whether you accept insurance assignment (including Medicare, Medicaid, worker’s comp), policies on co-payments (collect at time of service), acceptance of credit cards, and policy for hardship situations. A primary care practice is less likely to generate a large balance due from a patient than in a specialty practice.

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