Should I charge a pandemic response fee? Costs are tight for my practice and my patients due to COVID.
Dear Dr. Gina,
Should I be charging a pandemic response fee in my practice? I’m hearing that some patients at other practices feel that the fee they are being charged is ridiculous, or that it’s ridiculous that there even is a fee. I don’t want to be labeled as a “greedy dentist,” but I also know that we are spending a lot of money right now.
Stressed About This Pandemic Dentist
Dear Stressed About This Pandemic Dentist,
I understand why you are stressed. I was hoping that this quarantine was going to be short lived…but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Either way, after the quarantine, prices will normalize.
The answer to this question depends on how established your practice is. For myself, I have an established practice. I have established cash flow. It’s easier for me to manage an additional cost such as a pandemic response fee. However, for a brand new office, it’s going to be very difficult. Here’s what I would do in the case of having a brand new office or one that is less established: I would not send patients a letter before they come into your office. I would wait for them to come back and then inform them in person. However, you should send your patients a letter telling them about the measures you are taking to keep them safe, such as curbside check-in.
When your patients see that you are dressed differently in your PPE and all of the equipment you invested in to keep them safe, they will be more willing to pay a pandemic response fee.
Make sure that the fee you are asking for is reasonable. I would make it roughly $7.95: do NOT make it $30.00 (it seems like common sense but I’ve seen some dentists do this and those are the greedy dentists). That’s a lot of money for a fee and patients know this.
Something else that you should definitely do is continue to gain good reviews of your practice. Reviews are what sell your practice. But with a brand new practice, it’s hard to gain reviews when you don’t have many patients. You need to work harder to prove your practice to be worthy of trust, especially right now. As you bring your patients into your practice, show them your sterilization areas so that they see and believe you are keeping everything as clean as possible.
I hope that this advice helps, and I wish you the best! The fact that you are concerned about charging a pandemic fee and not wanting to be greedy means that you are not a greedy dentist 😊.
Dr. Gina Dorfman
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