Guidelines For Direct Marketing & Fee-Setting

The American Medical Association has published a number of recommendations and guidance documents for establishment of physician fees charged directly to patients, and for direct-to-consumer advertising. Here are some key excerpts from these recommendations.

Factors to Consider When Establishing Fees

In general, a physician should not charge or collect an illegal or excessive fee. Key considerations are:
(1) The difficulty and/or uniqueness of the services performed and the time, skill, and experience required
(2) The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar physician services
(3) The amount of the charges involved
(4) The quality of performance
(5) The experience, reputation, and ability of the physician in performing the kind of services involved

Guidelines for Direct-to-Consumer Advertising:

Medical advertisements and marketing materials aimed at consumers:
1) Must be disease specific and enhance consumer education
2) Should convey clear information on the prevention or treatment of a disease
3) Should refer patients to their doctors for more information
4) Should not encourage self-diagnosis and treatment, but should identify the population at risk.

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