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Osteopath: Your fees


Getting your fees right is an important part of making sure the clinic gets off to a good start. If you have previously worked in a clinic in the area where your own business will be located, you will already have a good idea of the level of fees that people are prepared to pay.

If you are not sure of how much to charge, you could telephone established clinics in your area or look online at their websites. You may decide to charge less than the going rate to try to attract more patients. Alternatively, you may feel that you can charge more than the going rate, for example if you are very experienced or highly qualified. According the General Osteopathic Council, fees range from £35 to £50 for a 30-40 minute session. The initial consultation fee is usually higher than the fee for subsequent visits - the average fee is £48 for the initial consultation and £42 for subsequent sessions. Bear in mind that fees can vary depending on the location of the clinic and the experience of the practitioner.

Payment

The majority of your patients will pay you out of their own pockets - some will then claim the fees back from their insurance company. Some patients covered by insurance companies will pass the claim forms to you after treatment has been completed and you will have to collect your fees from the insurance company. If you have any NHS patients, your fees for these will be paid by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or Health Board in whose area the referring GP practices.

It will be best for your cash flow if you can charge your patients at the completion of each treatment, rather than at the end of a course of treatments, particularly with long treatments. You should make your payment terms clear to the patient before treatment begins.

Discounts

You are likely to find that you will have to offer discounts on your normal fees to secure work from health insurance companies. The fees you'll receive for NHS work are typically set against a national tariff or a locally decided rate.

You may also offer discounts to regular customers or patients who will need a long course of treatment.

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