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Refunding patient money

September 10, 2013

Question:

Jennifer, 

I have a patient causing a lot of trouble for me by posting negative reviews on the internet and calling my office frequently and complaining.  I saw this patient months ago for an elective service the patient paid cash for.  I think the patient will leave me alone if I refund his money.  He has stated as much.  What do you think?  Maybe if I refund the money that will be my easiest solution.

Thanks,
Dr. F

Answer:

Dr. F, thank you for your question; this issues comes up fairly frequently.  As a disclaimer -  Each situation presented with a difficult patient is unique, as each patient and their complaints and propensity to cause trouble is unique.  Here, it sounds as though we have a patient potentially disparaging you and/or the practice on the internet, as well as threatening and harassing the practice. Depending on the patient's complaint, my response as to whether to issue a refund would vary.  For most scenarios presented requesting whether to refund I advise against refunding money as a way to satiate a dissatisfied patient, mainly because the refund doesn't usually work to mitigate the patient's actions, and I generally prefer to see our clients keep money they have earned for legitimate services.  Should the circumstances warrant a refund, or even if the circumstances may not warrant but you elect to refund regardless, please do not issue any refund without first obtaining a proper release protecting you and your practice from any claims or future concerns. Also key is having any release executed properly and in exchange for adequate consideration.

Need help?  Contact Jennifer at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com or at (516) 747-6700 x. 302.





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