Discounts: Patients, Friends, & Family

Finally, let’s discuss for just a moment, the different discounting that you offer or that you’ll accept within your practice. This is extremely important, not only when dealing with patients, but when dealing with different insurance or vision plan carriers that you may interact with in your practice. We need to first refer back to any of our contracts that we signed with the different vision plans or insurances that we accept in our practice in order to understand what we've agreed to. There are some insurances that make us allow to provide certain discounts for our patients on frame or lens purchases, whether or whether not the practice gets reimbursed from that vision plan or insurer. So, it's really important we understand what we've agreed to in the first place to make sure that what we want to offer within our practices is something that we're actually able to offer. There's also something important to understand when it comes to discounting that we need to be fair to everyone. We want to ensure that the practices that we create in our dispensary don't make anyone feel discriminated against or don't make anyone feel like somebody got a better deal than them, and that they were owed the same thing. 

So, as we get into creating that portion of our policy and procedure manual, it's important that we are very specific when it comes to creating our discount policies. So, first you want to create a discounting policy for employees. I found specifically interesting in my practice that I needed to have a discounting policy for my doctor that owned the practice, as well as what he wanted to do for his family specifically or what he wanted to do for his friends or extended family members, so that we can ensure no matter who was handling that friend or family member of our doctor owner that they knew exactly what to do, so that we don't have to stop clinic or possibly interrupt the doctor which we never want to do, just to figure out what we should be charging.

Then from there we should clearly outline what types of discounts, if any, we’re willing to offer to our staff as well as our staff’s friends and family. It's also important that we write these things down, because if we get audited by different insurance companies or vision plans, we want to make sure that we're very clear with why we're offering these discounts. Now you also want to make sure to do some math when you're talking about different discounts. In most cases, if you offer a discount on your original or usual and customary charges of 30% or more, you're usually paying people to wear those glasses or if you're lucky you might be breaking even. So we need to understand what we're agreeing to with our different vision plans or with the different discounts that we offer some of these patients, before we do it, so we make sure we're not losing money. Because while it's important to feel like we're providing a good price for the value that our patients receive, we need to understand that there's a certain point that we can't provide people with certain discounts if we want to stay in business and be able to provide those services or goods to our individual patients. Make sure you also go through all of your different vision plan contracts and different benefit summaries to understand what types of benefits you're offering, what types of benefits you won't honor, and make sure that is completely outlined so we know how to treat every single situation and so that whether I'm working in the dispensary or answering the phones, I know how to answer any discount question that may be applicable to any of the different practices within our dispensary.