Understanding Legal Requirements and Best Practices for Patient Payments

In the dynamic landscape of healthcare and chiropractic services, the management of financial transactions, particularly credit card billing, is a crucial aspect that requires careful consideration and strategic planning. The ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program provides invaluable guidance in this area, highlighting the importance of sound risk management practices and the benefits of having a reliable malpractice provider.

The Evolving Nature of Credit Card Transactions in Healthcare

The question posed by Dr. Mallory, regarding the necessity of having patients sign each credit card charge, is a common concern among healthcare providers. Traditionally, verifying identities and preventing fraudulent activities involved checking IDs or matching signatures. However, with technological advancements, specifically the introduction of EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) chips and corresponding readers, the landscape has shifted significantly.

In today’s context, it is no longer a legal requirement to obtain a signature for credit card transactions. While practices can still opt to do so, they must be prepared to retain a copy of the signed receipt, a practice that becomes complex considering that many patients do not keep these receipts unless for HSA (Health Savings Account) or FSA (Flexible Spending Account) purposes.

Challenges in Payment Collection and Office Policies

A notable issue raised by Dr. Mallory pertains to patients accumulating large balances due to non-payment of copays at the time of service. This situation underscores a broader business and policy challenge rather than a legal one. To mitigate such issues, chiropractic practices are advised to establish clear office policies regarding payments.

Implementing Effective Strategies for Payment Collection

An effective strategy involves ensuring that services are paid for either before or immediately after they are received. Barring exceptional circumstances, no patient should leave the office without settling their copay. This approach is not unique to chiropractic practices but is a standard procedure in many medical offices where non-payment can result in the rescheduling of appointments.

Creating a Transparent Payment Environment

To reinforce this policy, chiropractic offices should consider developing a comprehensive office policy manual that explicitly details payment expectations and procedures. Additionally, investing in visible signage in the waiting and treatment areas, indicating the payment policies, can significantly enhance transparency and compliance. Vendors on platforms like Amazon offer custom signage solutions that can be tailored to the specific needs of a practice.

The Role of a Malpractice Provider in Risk Management

In this scenario, the role of a malpractice provider, such as the ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program, becomes invaluable. These providers offer not only insurance coverage but also guidance and advice on various aspects of practice management, including billing and financial transactions. Their expertise can help chiropractic practices navigate the complexities of legal requirements and implement best practices that protect both the provider and the patient.


In conclusion, while the legal landscape regarding credit card signatures has evolved, chiropractic practices must adapt their policies and practices to ensure efficient and legally sound financial transactions. With the support of a knowledgeable malpractice provider, chiropractic practices can confidently navigate these challenges, ensuring a smooth and compliant operation that benefits both the practice and its patients.