Optometric Management Tip # 72   -   Wednesday, June 04, 2003
How clear are your Rx re-make policies?

As optometrists, we know that there is an art to refraction and prescribing glasses. There is a subjective nature to it, and the ultimate successful wear of a finished pair of eyeglasses depends on many factors, including frame fit and lens measurements. Throw in a fashion element and the fact that glasses are considered as a retail product, and we are bound to see some patients come back with complaints.

The reason for eyeglass complaints can vary all over the map, of course, from wanting to change the frame style to incorrect seg heights to poor Rx adaptation to prescribing errors. How your office handles these complaints will be a key factor in the reputation of your practice and in other factors such as patient retention and referrals of new patients.

As a strong believer in the power of high levels of patient satisfaction, I'm firmly in the camp that says fix the problem quickly and easily and don't worry about who is to blame. The cost of a remake is not even a factor to me if I think new lenses will solve the patient's problem. By showing our caring and compassionate side, and remaining pleasant at all times, we can convert complaining patients to lifelong friends. My staff solves the problem if they are able, or they offer a quick no-charge appointment with me if the problem is visual and not related to lens design.

If you really analyze spectacle remakes, however, there are a few nuances that can get sticky. In the interest of fairness, I like to let patients know our office policies in advance. We had the following statement printed on the back of our walkout receipt (superbill), so every patient gets a copy. No matter what your policies are, consider writing them down and informing patients in advance - it can make life easier.

Eyeglass Prescription Policy

For prescriptions we fill written by doctors at Gailmard Eye Center: An office visit to recheck the prescription will be provided and new lenses will be made at no charge within 60 days of dispensing. Re-check visits after 60 days will be charged the usual fee for a brief exam.

For prescriptions we fill written by other doctors: Eyeglass lenses will be re-made one time at no charge if the prescribing doctor provides a new prescription in writing within 60 days of dispensing. Rx changes after one free remake or after 60 days will be charged the usual lens price.

For Gailmard Eye Center prescriptions that are filled elsewhere: If a lens prescription change is needed after glasses are made, we will not be responsible for any charges incurred. Most reputable optical dispensaries allow doctor Rx changes at no charge, but it is up to the patient to inquire about such policies in advance of purchase.

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management