How To Build A Sliding Pay Scale In Private Practice You Can Be Proud Of

Today we are going to show you how to build a sliding pay scale in private practice that will work for you. 

Are you on the fence about offering a sliding scale in private practice?

Offering a sliding scale can be beneficial to your clients who have fewer resources and ensures that your private practice stays full. 

If you aren’t really sure what a sliding scale is, I will tell you.

A sliding scale is therapy that is priced based on a client’s resources. “Resources” is a nice term for someone’s income.

So if you have a client who is going through financial hardship, or just doesn’t make a lot of money, this would be an option for them.

This is only an option for private pay clients that you are seeing.

sliding scale

Sliding scales seem to be a risky and strong opinionated topic in the therapist community.

Ultimately you have to decide what is the right choice for you. There tends to be a moral ground that most therapists who offer it seem to fall on, which is the belief that everyone should have access to proper mental health care.

There are some laws you have to follow when offering a sliding scale and they vary state to state, so be sure to check in your state to be sure you are following the guidelines.

If you are accepting insurance, you need to check with each company that you offer it through.

Some companies don’t allow you to use a sliding scale when it comes to private pay clients because they see it as you charging one client a lower amount than they are paying you and may think you are committing insurance fraud.

It varies from company to company so just be sure to check with each company that you accept.

thumbs up

If you have gotten the “all clear” from insurance companies and state laws, it is safe to offer a sliding scale in private practice.

So how do you set this up?

You will need to have your rates set up first.

If you are still having trouble with that I have that blog linked here to help you set your rates for private practice. Feel free to check that out then come back to this blog.

You will want to consider a cap on how many clients you can see at your lowest sliding scale.

Be sure that you can make the amount you need to support yourself with this amount of clients at the lowest option of your scale.

You should have a cap for the lowest and highest rate option on your sliding scale.

Therefore, you have to consider what is the lowest rate you can offer while not losing money for seeing this client. The top of your scale should just be the normal rate you charge.

This gives the ability to slide anywhere in between these two numbers.

Now that you have your rates set for your scale you have to determine how you are going to qualify a client.

We recommend two of the clients’ most recent pay stubs. We have seen some therapists also calculate a client’s debt into factor here as well.

That is up to you. 

With their annual income, you choose where they fall into the scale.

We use the formula 0.001 x yearly income to calculate what their rate is.

So say they make $50,000 per a year, they would pay $50 per hour.

This will stay in your set high and low caps for your rates.

good background

Stick to your boundaries you have set with this sliding scale for your private practice.

If your client doesn’t qualify then they don’t qualify.

Remember, if you choose to not enforce your rules for one client, they all will be expecting the same treatment, and you’re showing an inability to set healthy boundaries.

If offering a sliding scale is just not something you feel you want to offer, there are several other options you can offer to clients who are having trouble paying for you.

You can do a client pro-bono.

Which we recommend limiting to one client so you can still afford the lifestyle you worked for. There is also the option of allowing a pay what you can option.

We recommend that you limit this to one client and you just let them pay you what they can.

The option of starting a waitlist for these options are there as well.

Don’t feel guilty for limiting the number of clients you see with these options. The waitlist allows you to help everyone when the time is right for you.

Payment plans are another option for your private practice.

You can sit down with the client and price out a plan that works for both of you.

This option is best for clients who may just be experiencing a temporary financial setback.

Leave us comments on how much this blog helped you create a sliding scale for your private practice.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This