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Groupon Model for Docs ok?

August 18, 2016
 
Question:

Hi Jennifer, 
 
Hoping your summer has been good.

I seem to remember you once addressing the use of the Groupon model for physicians as a way to capture new patients, procedures etc. Could you comment on this when you have a minute please. My recollection is that there were ethics issues?

Thanks in advance.

Best, 
Dr. B


Answer: 

Hi Dr. B, as early as Spring 2013 I became aware of Groupon offering a flat fee contract.  See https://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/article/groupon-revisited-care-credit-recoupment. In the flat fee model I see absolutely no issue with utilizing Groupon or other online marketing tool to promote services.  The issue previously with the way certain online incentives were structured was in the pricing.  If an incentive was "purchased" through the marketer, the marketer took a piece of the fee.  That is fee splitting in NY and other states.  Fee splitting opened the doctor up to charges of misconduct and more.  

If you are looking to engage with an outside marketing modality or engage a third party vendor to assist, be sure to have your contract reviewed.  Send it over and we'll take a look. We'll check the fee structure, HIPAA language, termination ability and look for draconian provisions that are probably included!  Remember, its a lot cheaper for me to help you properly get in then to fight for you to get out. Get the prenup, skip the messy divorce! 



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