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FEE Paying policy

Why we have this policy

A practice policy will help to establish a formal protocol about when to require payment from patients, the payment methods available at the practice and how to deal with bad debts; it should be understood and followed by all staff. You must include a commitment to provide information about costs to patients at every stage of patient care. The practice policy should describe your procedure for collecting fees so that it is clear to both patients and theteam. A step-by-step approach that follows the patient pathway may be a useful start:


  1. Display information on patient fees clearly using posters and leaflets and on your website.
  2. A new-patient welcome letter or patient brochure should include information on an indicative price list, any payment plans operated and the payment methods accepted
  3. Remind patients when they make an appointment about how fees are collected
  4. Provide patients with a treatment plan and estimate of costs and check that they understand and accept
    the payment terms
  5. Following the appointment, accompany the patient to reception and ensure that the receptionist has the
    correct information about the amount to be paid.

The routine may vary, depending on the patient’s relationship with the practice and their treatment; it may be more appropriate to require partial payments over a few months, for example. Your fee collection policy should reflect what happens in your practice.
Consider how you collect payments – credit and debit cards and cheque or cash payments – and include thisinformation in your policy together with processing details, where relevant.
Occasionally, a patient may fail to pay, so you will need to have processes in place to help you to decide whether to try and recover the debt and how, or to write it off. Your decision may depend upon the amountowed and the circumstances surrounding how the debt occurred. Regularly check payments received against treatments provided and, where necessary, contact those patients who have amounts outstanding to remind them that payment is due and how it can be made. Set a deadline for payment and remember to check if payment has been received. If no payment has been received, send a final reminder. If payment is still not received, you will need to assess how to proceed – whether to write off the debt or commence formal legal action.
Receptionists should be able to provide accurate information on the amount due and be confident to ask for payment. Whenever patients attend the practice, your receptionist should check their record cards for outstanding amounts. A consistent approach to checking for debts will help to keep to a minimum the overall amount owed to the practice.