Use Credit Cards as Your Practice’s Default Payment Method

October 1, 2012

Concierge Psychiatry, Chicago

I use Securepay.com for processing credit card charges. Adopting the use of credit cards as the default method of payment has virtually elimenated my accounts receivable. Rather than using the cumbersome payment by check or cash or even credit card charge at each visit, taking up valuable time, I gather credit card information as a part of the initial evaluation and run charges once or twice per week on an ongoing basis.

Occasionally I will alter this default at the request of the client. Sometimes this works fine, but all too often these are the clients who are very slow payers or that even burn me by failing to pay. I keep swearing to never do it again.

For many years I practiced what was the accepted practice – hand writing statements at the end of each month and awaiting payment. My move to Chicago eight years ago allowed a serious reevaluation of my business practices. Practically every aspect of my business changed except for the actual clinical work. Billing, accounting, and business organization changed – I became a corporation. Was this paradigm shift in my business mind set the reason I started using a credt card service or was I simply fed up with getting stiffed?

I guarrantee you that clinicians working in academic settings know nothing of these matters. I have even been chastized for “going commercial” and seriously criticized by reviewers of one of psychiatry’s newsletters for promoting the running of a cash-based practice. They accused me of taking advantage of my clientele.

If you want to operate a successful concierge practice do not be confused by these well meaning but uninformed clinicians. Just because our teachers are experts doesn’t mean they know anything about running a business. Sign up with an online credit card processing company. Use the virtual terminal option. Let me know how it goes. I suspect you will see a significant improvement in your cash flow.

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