Recently, our ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program team had the opportunity to advise a chiropractic practice on a delicate patient situation. The patient, who had opted for a comprehensive treatment plan, later expressed dissatisfaction and sought a refund, raising numerous risk management questions. Let’s dissect this situation to understand the complexities and highlight the importance of having a robust malpractice insurance provider for advice in such scenarios.
The patient in question had undergone an extensive chiropractic plan to address multiple health complaints, which seemed to alleviate some of her issues. Yet, complications arose when she claimed one of the adjusting doctors had exacerbated her headaches. While the practice tried to rectify this by offering complimentary visits, the patient, now accompanied by her mother, sought a full refund. Making things even trickier, there were online negative reviews from the patient that were later removed.
Should Refunds Be Given?
When faced with refund requests, several considerations must be addressed:
1. Billing disputes: Malpractice policies don’t typically cater to ‘billing disputes’, but every situation is unique. It’s crucial to assess if the refund request is genuine or if there’s an ulterior motive, such as in this case where the demand coincided with her CareCredit account due date.
2. Admission of guilt: Refunding can sometimes be perceived as admitting fault. However, it’s essential to clarify that refunds are given in the patient’s best interest and not necessarily because the service provided was subpar.
3. Pre-payment: Taking payment for services in advance can be a double-edged sword. It ensures commitment but can also lead to heightened expectations and potential for disputes.
4. Quality of care: If a practice believes in the care provided, and it was done in good faith, refunds may be unnecessary. However, patient dissatisfaction, if genuine, should be addressed, possibly with remedial treatments or consultations.
5. Documentation: All interactions, especially those concerning disputes, should be thoroughly documented. This shields the practice in potential legal or board review scenarios.
Guidance from ChiroFutures
In the described scenario, the chiropractor was caught in a quandary. While the patient had shown improvement, the association of worsening symptoms with one of the chiropractors complicated matters. When consulted, our team advised the doctor to evaluate the risk factors:
– Recognizing billing disputes might escalate to legal issues or board complaints.
– Assessing the situation where a patient has already voiced concerns in the past about the care received.
– Making sure everything was documented.
Our advice focused on safeguarding the chiropractor’s practice and reputation while ensuring the patient’s concerns were addressed. The chiropractor decided to issue a refund, which was their prerogative.
Conclusion: The Role of Malpractice Insurance
This case highlights the need for expert guidance in navigating complicated patient-practice relationships. With ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program, chiropractors have a trusted partner by their side. We’re not just an insurance provider; we’re advisors, offering vital feedback during such crucial times. This episode reinforces the importance of having such a reliable partner who provides invaluable discussion time with our chiropractors, ensuring they’re equipped to make the best decisions.
In the dynamic world of chiropractic care, unforeseen challenges are par for the course. But with ChiroFutures, you’ll never face them alone. Always remember to consult, document, and decide with clarity.