Clients who refuse care

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Aug 01, 2005


Sheila Grosdidier
Q. Last week a client brought in a very sick pet and refused to treat it because of the cost. This makes me furious. What can I do?

"If the client thinks your care is too expensive, you may not be explaining the value of the services you offer," says Sheila Grosdidier, RVT, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a consultant with VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. "Often when clients say care is too expensive, they're really saying they don't understand what needs to be done." Use these four steps to improve client compliance:

1. Develop a medical care plan that describes the procedure, the services involved, and the cost. You'll review the plan with clients in the exam room and answer their follow-up questions.

2. Explain the elements of the care you offer. For example, you might tell the client that the dental prophy Tiger needs includes preanesthetic testing and post-surgical pain medication.

3. Give payment options. Do you accept credit cards or offer a flexible third-party payment plan? Can you break the procedure into parts to make the bill more manageable?

4. Ask questions and offer recommendations. Clients most often complain about costs when they have other concerns that aren't easy to explain. Asking, "What questions do you have about the procedure?" encourages a spirit of collaboration, Grosdidier says.