As a well-seasoned Chiropractor who had a built what most would consider a pretty successful practice as well as a practice management company “The Golden System” I felt I had the subject of payment for services pretty well covered. Taught my staff….”never turn anyone away….we can always work out some type payment schedule to fit any financial situation. Get them in the office and we’ll deal with the money thing later.
Then Mister Bill Francis entered my life.
My office manager informed me she had made an appointment for a man who had been very adamant about needing my care but had no money. She went on to explain how she had told this gentleman we had payment policies to fit any need. He went on to tell her “young lady….I’m being very honest with you….I have no money….no money at all!” Being the great CA she was, Kathy made Mr. Bill Francis an appointment.
Mr. Francis was a tall, frail man of about 72 years of age. He was in obvious pain. I couldn’t help but notice the lower portion of his right arm was deformed. During the consultation, I discovered he, as a teenager, was attempting to hand crank a Model T Ford that “kicked back”….hit his lower arm breaking both the radius and ulna. His folks had no money for a doctor so they applied a homemade splint….the arm healed so deformed his wrist was frozen making his right hand very difficult to use.
I also learned Mr. Francis was as poor as poor could be barely having money for food. He had 10 children, many who lived in the area. None were helping their Dad at all. Even so, Mr. Francis was a very proud man, a very honest man, a very sincere man who had a health problem he had been told I might be able to help.
As we approached the conclusion of the consultation Mr. Francis reiterated……”Dr. Golden…..I told the young lady there is no way I can pay you.” I replied, in my most dignified, authoritative voice “That’s no problem, Bill…..we’ll figure out something.”
Bill Francis responded favorably and quickly to my care. He was also true to his world….he couldn’t and didn’t pay me despite month after month of sending him statements.
Finally, as I did every year around Thanksgiving, I reviewed all my seriously delinquent accounts. There was Bill Francis. I instructed my staff to send our “letter of forgiveness” to Mr. Francis
“Dear Mister Francis:
Review of our records reveal your account is seriously delinquent. It is not the desire of me or my staff to create additional financial difficulties for your. In the spirit of this Thanksgiving Season, I have instructed Kathy to mark your account paid in full. You have a zero balance. We wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.
A few days later Kathy came back to my office….”Dr. Dan…..Mr. Francis is here. He wants to see you.” I walked to the reception room to find this tall thin elderly gentleman standing with our letter held in his crippled right hand….tears rolling down his cheeks.
“Dr. Dan….(as he waved the letter) I just wanted to stop by and tell you I think you are the finest man God ever put on this earth.”
With that, he slowly turned and walked out the door.
The question is: Did I Get Paid? There is no greater reward in knowing you helped someone who would not have been helped had it not been for you.