Is a FREE Exam Offer Legal?
Hi, it’s Dr. Noel Lloyd for Five Star Management. Not long ago I did a webinar entitled New Patient Tsunami: How to double, even triple new patients in thirty days. In the webinar, I covered a free consultation and free examination.
Now, we had 190+ people on that webinar with us, from that group, 1 doctor sent me an email and this was the gist of the email. He felt that a free consultation and a free examination offer was not proper. In fact, he thought it was actually illegal. I hopped on the phone with an attorney who specializes in issues such as these, as I have before, had a nice conversation, got some emails, and what I am gonna do in this next segment, is clear up the controversy about free consult and free examination. Is it legal to make that offer?
So here’s the set up. You’re at a spinal screening, talking to people, putting them up on your SAM machine or checking with your SEMG. You find people who have problems, they want to come in and see you, there sister sees a chiropractor, they think it would be a good idea, and you’ve got a free consultation and free examination that they could take advantage of if they book there appointment right here and right now.
Or you’re doing a New Patient Orientation Class and in your New Patient Orientation Class you make an offer to your new patients and their guests. If they’ve got friends or family members, they can come in at no charge and find out if chiropractic can help them. Or you can do the same thing at a dinner workshop, whatever! You’ve got a free consult, you’ve got a free examination, and that helps a prospective patient come into your office and find out of chiropractic can help.
And the question that this doctor had for me was, was that legal? In fact, he was very convinced that it wasn’t legal. Now, I got on the phone and spoke to my very, very high priced attorney, spent several hundred dollars investigating this issue, again, like I have several times in the past and the answer is, first of all, you can, and secondly you can’t. Now I’m going to clarify that in the next segment.
So, let’s talk first of all where you can’t offer a free consultation and free examination. You can’t offer that anytime the government is the payer and let me give you three examples. Number one: medicare. You cannot offer to a medicare person free consultation, free examination, or any other free service as an inducement to treat or medicade or where the government is the payer on the insurance policy. You would want to have on your certificate, “offer void where prohibited by law.” You’ve heard that language before on other offers on television right?
Now, let’s talk about where you can give a free consultation and free examination to help somebody come into your office and find out if chiropractic can help. That’s where private pay takes care of the insurance and I can give you all kinds of different companies and you can think of those as well, but what you want to make sure that you do is follow the law in your specific state. Every state, all 50 states, have some type of language that governs how you can offer a free or discounted service and you want to make sure that you follow the law.
So, here’s the answer. Yes I can offer to private pay according to the laws in my state and no I can’t offer to a government payer system like medicare, medicade, and other government payers.
So, I hope that helps you and you know what I hope it does? I hope it frees you up to get the message of chiropractic into your community where you like to do your chiropractic outreach as a massage event, or a spinal screening, or a dinner workshop, or offer free consultation free examination to somebody coming in the office through your New Patient Orientation Class. Some of the nicest people I know on the planet, some of the people who are the most grateful to chiropractic that I know, came to me through a spinal screening where we were out there giving a free consultation and free examination to help them come on in and try what chiropractic has to offer.
This is Dr. Noel Lloyd for Five Star Management and I hope that helps