Two items from the past week that discuss the benefits of disengaging from insurance and managed care for patients. Yesterday, the Associated Press published a story, Some Doctors Choosing Cash Over Insurance, describing a small number of doctors who have opted out of traditional insurance plans, letting them spend more time with patients and do medicine the way they always envisioned it. By dispensing with insurance, they argue, they are able to make roughly the same amount per office visit, because they save on the time it takes to fill out all the paperwork and the clerical time to file it and pursue reimbursement. The most interesting claim was that users of these cash-only doctors weren't restricted to the upper class; most clientele were from the middle class.
Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, the author of Building Your Ideal Private Practice, publishes a monthly newsletter on private practice issues. This month's lesson deals with Very Important Clients. She suggests converting some of your clients to full fee (i.e., no insurance), and by doing so, offering added benefits: no waiting for appointments, full attention from the therapist during sessions, and a therapist who is able to keep up with the last techniques because of extra time to engage in continuing education.
Here's how she presents it:
"Once you decide to have a VIC full-fee practice, you can educate
others, both new and existing clients about your service.
"When a new client calls asking, 'What do you charge? Will you take my
insurance? Do you offer a sliding scale?' let this person know that
you only accept clients who can pay your full fee.
"Then add a piece of education, by saying, 'My fee reflects the
special services that I provide. I keep my caseload small to give
extra attention and care to everyone I see. I also maintain a
dedicated level of expertise through continual training, so that my
clients get the advantage of the most recent research and techniques.
I offer a calm, healing environment, another benefit for my clients.'"
It's an appealing idea, for sure, but it begs the question (at least in my mind): Shouldn't all of our clients be VIP clients?
Christopher J. Combs, Ph.D. on 04.05.04 @ 06:26 AM EST [link] [8 Comments]