September 10, 2013
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.
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.
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