We've spent years working hard to build a good reputation for our medical practice and healthy personal relationships with all of our patients. The letter below illustrates the sort of relationship every patient should experience with their doctor.
When we receive something like this from a long-time patient, it absolutely makes our day:
Hello Dr Jones and staff,
I wanted to send you all a note to tell you how important your office has been to my well-being these past 8 or so years that I have been a patient. I have wanted to send a card or note for some time, but -- as we have all discovered -- e-mail is so much easier.For the first couple of years I used your office, I felt that your strongest "selling point" concerned the efficiency with which the office was run. You were always on time, could always fit me in in an emergency, and were professional and friendly. The convenience factor outweighed all else. But, as the years have gone on and I have needed to come in for a variety of (pretty minor, fortunately) "ills" such as colds, stomach aches, allergies, urinary tract infections, minor depression or anxiety, an ear infection, carpal tunnel, or other ailments, I have come to feel like you are almost a family to me.
There are so many areas of life where we have to deal with bureaucracy, impersonal clerks, arbitrary rules, long minutes "on hold" on the phone, doctors offices that can only schedule you in months in advance, offices that make you wait for almost an hour for your appointment, doctors and nurses that don't seem to really care about you, staff that change every month so there's no continuity, doctors offices where you feel like things are run like an assembly line, etc. It is so nice to know that there is at least one arena in my life where I will always get effective, efficient, personal, competent, professional "service." By a doctor who pays attention to the details as well as the big picture, where records are always up to date, where billing problems are solved in a friendly manner, where a nurse returns phone calls promptly, where you will see the same friendly faces every time you come, where you will get nagged about your unhealthy habits, where prescriptions are reviewed before renewal, where people remember to ask you about personal or health issues from previous visits. In short, where you can trust that someone else is looking out for you and that you are not all alone in the world of health care.
You can rest assured that no matter what billing policy you employ, I will continue to be a patient. There's not even any question that it is worth it to me to continue as a patient even if I have to pay higher out-of-pocket costs or pay all costs up front. My health, trust in my provider, and sense of well-being is priceless, and you give me that. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.