Fee disputes can often lead to complaints of professional misconduct. The Office of the Professions does not negotiate or resolve fee disputes. Other claims of professional misconduct, however, may arise due to fee disputes. When investigated, these complaints are usually found to originate in disputes over fees, but the psychologist, as well as the Department, will have had the burden of the investigation.
To avoid these complaints, psychologists could:
- Clarify the billing and payment conditions, including insurance, if applicable, at the outset of the evaluation and treatment, and specify the financial arrangements in terms that the patient/client can understand. It is useful to include an agreement for payment for cancelled appointments.
- Explain to the patient/client that he or she may be responsible for payments for appointments that the patient/client misses than do not fall within the cancellation agreement. It may be considered fraudulent for psychologists to bill insurers for appointments when the patient is not provided a service.
- Make the patient/client aware of the costs involved, so the patient/client can, therefore, make informed choices so as not to incur excessive debt.
- Avoid providing any personally identifiable information regarding the patient/client that reveals the professional nature of the relationship when attempting to collect fees. It is wise to determine beforehand if a collection agency will be providing information to third parties, e.g., employers or family members, who should not have access to such information.