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As patients feel financial pain, doctors offer discounts and other assistance

Washington Post, June 2, 2009
Doctors are encountering more patients struggling to pay for care, and some doctors have responded by selectively cutting their fees or devising novel payment arrangements; others have taken a harder line on billing and are sending more overdue accounts to bill collectors. Many doctors say they feel a responsibility to help strapped patients, particularly those with whom they have long-standing relationships. Some say assisting patients pays dividends in the form of loyalty, which will benefit them once the economy recovers. For others, such efforts may stem an exodus of consumers at a time when elective procedures and visits to doctors' offices are down.