Patient refunds always seem to snag us when we rationalize, “We did the work, why should I give a refund?” This is an ethical stand and we constantly see the regurgitation on the Internet sites when a misunderstanding occurs concerning patient refunds.
What is the right thing to do when it comes to patient refunds? My feeling is if you have enough money to solve the problem, then you do not have a problem. When a patient is not satisfied with the work, find out immediately how much money it will take to make the problem disappear. If we refund the money the patient spent would we be in the clear. By refunding the money right away, you can avoid any disasters in the future. However, sometimes it will be more than the price of the procedure that will need to be refunded when it comes to patient refunds.
Sometimes, patients will add a contingency fee of, “Suffering,” to the refund. Find out how much that is. Ask the patient why they aren’t happy. Find out what can be done to rectify the situation. Even if you feel the work was done well, somehow this particular patient is not pleased. Suck it up and find out how much money it take to make the patient and pay it. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get. Patient refunds can triple if you allow them too.
Sometimes, a dentist, who is now in a pickle of a situation, contacts me. The patient said they were not happy and the dentist decided to either stall or deny any responsibility. Now a lawyer has been contacted. I ask the dentist, “Was there a time when you could have paid the initial refund and it would be no longer a problem?” “Yes, but now is too late and we are into litigation.” Had this dentist paid the patient the refund, litigation wouldn’t be a problem.
A fee refund often precludes a malpractice claim or a dental board complaint. Most patients just want their money back in order to move forward. If you deny or stall the refund, you will only be making the process worse, which will end up costing you time and money.
Most businesses, including medical and dental practices, just want the clients and customers to be happy. Most businesses will refund the cost if the customer is not happy with the service. If a patient isn’t satisfied, refunding your fees is an appropriate way to solve a problem and is a smart business decision.
Patient refunds is alive on lots of dental forums. It is not a matter of who is right or wrong. There is no right or wrong. It is how the patient feels about the work. You may feel that you did a great job and a refund is out of the question. However, if they are not satisfied, they are right in their mind.
When it comes to patient refunds, you can save a lot of heart muscle and stomach lining when you take care of the little problem up front before it escalates into an irreversible and legal concern. Refusing a refund costs time and money and could actually ruin your reputation, especially if you end up being reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.
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