My friend is a doctor. He was complaining to me the other day about a patient who asked for the discount, even though she was late and cancelled appointments.

On the discount, I wanted to point out that there is nothing immoral or unethical with asking. I was interested in the significant number of friends who say they give discounts, including the 20% discount for cash (which when I was a patient would be very happy to avail myself of if I knew of it). I'm sure everyone has asked for a discount on occasion in buying some product or service.

Further, you have to admire the bravery of the patient asking for a discount. I myself would be afraid to ask it of a physician because of fear the physician would somehow take it out on me in the medical treatment. To him and other docs outraged about the discount request, I say you don't have to grant it, but ethically you should assure the patient (especially after what the MA reported to her) that you harbor no hard feelings and it will not affect your medical care of her.





Speak your mind

7 Comments so far

  1. david on May 18, 2011 3:17 pm

    I recall long ago when my father (rest his soul) took a wagon wheel and a fifth of Whiskey for Medical payment. Not a bad deal
    to the patient for having a few kidney stones removed. Its hard
    to find a good Doc now days anyways………….

  2. steve on May 18, 2011 5:13 pm

    Everything in life can be negotiated. What is the worst that can happen. They say no. Well you are no worse off than where you started so what do you have to lose. Chances are the doctor is not going to kill you. And of course nothing is etched in stone as to what people might charge.

    We ask for discounts from our hairstylists, lawyers, bartender (happy hour prices.) artists why not a physician. What the hell makes them so special. Except the work in a monopoly industry.

    I would suggest however that I would ask for a discount after he or she has treated me. Just to be on the safe side.

    I find that the people who do not like to negotiate never practiced it or studied the practice. There are great books out there to study from. If you would like a list of some look me up on facebook.

  3. bo keely on May 19, 2011 1:57 am

    This is unheard of to ask a doctor for a discount, and brave. My California physician accepts donations of old medicine bottles and typewriter ribbons. The veterinarian I worked for charged ‘What the market will bare’ and judged it by the breed of dog and model car parked in the lot. Here in Indonesia I asked the immigration official for a discount on a visa penalty and he shook his head sadly. It can’t hurt to ask a doctor for a discount, and if he turns a deaf ear maybe it’s time to shop around.

  4. michael bonderer on May 19, 2011 7:59 pm

    this is precisely what ObamaCare sets out to achieve.

  5. Nigel Davies on May 19, 2011 8:25 pm

    I think there’s another side to this. I learn Tai Chi from someone who is truly amazing at what he does. But he charges very little because he loves to teach and doesn’t really need the money.

    On the other hand it would be really insulting to try and negotiate his modest fees and I’d never dream of doing so. In fact I present him with bottles of wine at particular landmarks to show my appreciation. And I practice as much as I can as a sign of respect.

    Perhaps this is also a form of negotiation but money is not the primary value.

  6. Scrooge McDuck on May 20, 2011 5:23 am

    Being a doctor and giving away lots of discounts could be a tough way to make a living. I think it may be rewarding in other ways though.

    Sometimes I detest the discount asker. Well, not the real poverty stricken individual. Certainly not a mother or father who have S%&T to give to their kids and can barely support their family.

    Not the “Yah, I got toilet paper for Christmas…” or the “I was liberated by a drone bombing my house… now I’m living in a Smithrite” kind. No. Not that.

    What I am referring to is the rich discount asker. The haggling souls that are so fearful of spending.

    (Side note- I recently asked for a discount for something, and while I do not completely hate myself, I do freely indulge in some good old fashioned self-loathing…)

    Many discount askers do so just for the sake of getting a “deal.” A deal that allows them to save money and spend on more important things… like scarves for their cats or high tops for their dogs.

    Side rant: I love animals, and you know what? They tell me they don’t need these things. Treating animals as people not only diminishes the uniqueness of people, but that of animals. In fact, I think it says something strange about our culture. We dress up our animals and walk by a starving homeless namuh. I wonder if this will be looked at as strange to people in the future, like we now look at those wild loch ness monster’s who actually stay in a monogonous marriage. A first marriage you ask? Yes, UFO abduction comes second.

    Side note deux: If there is anyone with too much money on their hands looking for hitops or scarves for their animals… please check out my site.

  7. Steve on May 21, 2011 3:51 am

    I recall a story true or not of a lawyer who sat in the waiting room (how pretentious is this?) of a doctor.

    He sent the physician a bill for his time. I doubt if the bill were paid.

    They may wield plenty of power over your life but I could make the same argument over a wicked spouse.

    A side note. 35 years in business and 25 of them in the financial industry I find physicians along with lawyers and engineers as to the most difficult groups to deal with. They ask for plenty, often demanding unrealistic services including discounts for the privelege of handling their money. They exhibit little loyalty, they will dismiss you instantly and second guess everything,

    Give me a hard working entrepreneur any day. They understand the real world and how things work.


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