You can save yourself major headaches—and maybe even a lot of bad press—by ensuring the payment terms your urgent care operation accepts are well known to your patients. Ensuring your staff knows how to communicate clearly and compassionately with people who come to your locations for care will go a long way toward keeping the peace even when conflicts occur, too. That message may arrive a little too late for one Massachusetts urgent care center, however. It’s making the kind of headlines no operator wants to see, as a family is complaining long and loud about the care they didn’t receive there. At the core of the mess is a policy wherein patients have to produce a state-issued ID card (such as a driver’s license) and a major credit card before registering. As the panicked mother of a boy who was in the throes of an asthma attack pleaded with staff to get her son the attention he needed while she did the paperwork, the workers stood firm: no credit card, no care. The woman stormed out the door and raced off to a hospital-based urgent care center down the street, where her son was seen immediately and all was well (health-wise, at least). One can argue that the mother didn’t help her son’s situation by arguing over the policy and leaving instead of simply getting a credit card out immediately, but that doesn’t minimize the damage to the first urgent care center’s reputation. It’s their name in the local newspapers, and the coverage isn’t likely to bring in new patients. Surely there’s a reason for whatever policy the urgent care center has, but trouble like the scenario described above might be avoided with can’t-miss signage spelling out procedures, and making sure front-office staff are trained to be at their best when dealing with people who are not.

Carefully Consider—and Communicate—Payment Policies
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