Sometimes a private consultant surgeon may decide he or she does not actually wish to charge the patient.
There are numerous reasons for taking such a position; all equally valid.
For example: the patient may be a local GP who refers patients to the consultant. The patient may actually be another private consultant and as a professional courtesy you don’t want to charge a fellow private surgeon. Or, as happened, very recently, the patient may be a Director of the Local Hospital.
In other words, you are treating the consultation as a courtesy.
It doesn’t really matter WHY you decide not to charge the patient provided you actually don’t charge the patient.
But who are you actually going the courtesy to?
What if the patient has private medical insurance?
What you are really doing then, is not charging the patient’s insurance company. The courtesy is being extended to an insurance company to whom the patient is most likely paying a yearly or monthly premium to have private medical insurance.
This has happened to MHM clients quite a few times over the years and I always advise the same.
If the patient is insured charge the insurance company. If the patient isn’t insured then don’t charge him or her if you do not wish to do so.
Once the insurance company has been charged in the event of there being a shortfall or an excess by all means don’t pass that portion of the charge on to the patient.
I did have to smile at the patient who called me last week complaining his insurance company hadn’t been charged and he wanted to know why.
He was an ENT surgeon who had attended an initial consultation with an MHM client who is a GI surgeon!