Business Pearls:   Protect Patients and Increase Herb Sales With Answers to Common FAQ’s

Note: we saw an article in the CTCMA’s recent newsletter that suggested some possible confusion, or maybe just some miscommunication about how we charge fees. We hope these sales pointers might be helpful.

Q: How do I avoid misunderstandings about fees?

A: There are several ways to share your fee schedule with patients. Post your pricelist:

– on the wall in your waiting room

– on your website

– on your brochures, and include this with your patient intake forms.

And don’t be shy about discussing fees and payment options up front with prospective patients – they want to know what to expect.

Q: How can I assure my patients that my herbs are safe?

A: If you are buying your herbs from a reputable supplier, you should already have the answer to this question! A supplier you can trust in our modern age should be able to provide lab reports on any item without hesitation, verify the origin of the plants/ingredients, as well as the date of production.

Your supplier should be able to verify that products have been tested for: correct species, contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, molds/mildews, aristolochic acid, drugs, or fillers, et cetera. The age and origin of the product as well as storage conditions should also be readily available info.

Let your customers know that you, too, do your due diligence and make sure your license is prominently displayed in your clinic – there is no substitute for professional care.

Q: What should I tell my patient if they want to buy herbs elsewhere?

A: Your patient has the right to do that, so make them aware that your fee includes your consultation – that is, interviewing the patient and taking medical history, signs and symptoms, T & P, reviewing drugs, allergies, family history, diet and lifestyle, then making your diagnosis, selecting and modifying your formula, writing your prescription, and filling it, too. Some practitioners include the herbs in their fee, which is part of the contract they negotiate with their patients. Show them your dispensary, and explain why you are confident in the items you stock. Most of our suppliers can provide helpful literature and information you can share with your patients.

If, however, your patient declines to buy herbs from you and merely wants your prescription, we suggest you politely advise them that you cannot be responsible for what occurs outside your clinic. The reason we have a license is – there is no substitute for professional care (and that includes “Dr. Google”).