Here’s a recent email from a soon-to-be patient who wants to do the right thing, but is confused by the sliding scale:
“I'm interested in becoming a (patient) member but have a question about the sliding scale for the membership fee. Is there a set structure based on what folks make, or is it an honor system sort of thing? I want to pay my fair share, but have (I am embarrassed to say) a heavy amount of debt I'm paying off right now.”
I was thrilled to get this question, because I feel sure that a lot of other people wonder, but just muddle through it. Here’s the answer:
“But that's exactly why we have the sliding scale! We don't know what your expenses are. Many of us have huge student loan debt ourselves. People support their families, parents, ex-spouses, have chronic diseases with expensive medications, and many more situations that we can't know.
So please, pay at any point in the scale, the lowest end of the scale is calculated to keep us in business! And we absolutely do not want you to feel guilty.”
There you have it! Should you always pay the same thing? No. Some weeks you may have more expense and some weeks you may have less. If you consistently pay the same thing, there may be weeks you think about NOT coming because you only have quarters in your wallet. Hey! We like quarters! They spend just like any other kind of money. Some of my favorite times are when we empty out the Invisible Receptionist box and find a bunch of change in the bottom.
Make the sliding scale your friend, and do what feels right to you, for you. Not for us.