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Stephen F. Austin State University

A Plea for Payment of Medical Bills (May 2014)

A Plea for Payment of Medical Bills
By Ann Middleton

In the October 13, 1921 issue of The Bossier Banner several North Bossier doctors submitted a plea to their patients under the title "To Whom It Concerns."

"Owing to depressed financial conditions, we, the undersigned practicing physicians of North Bossier, met in Plain Dealing October 7th for the purpose of discussion of some method for the protection of ourselves in the matter of collecting fees for our services and at which meeting we decided to issue the following letter:"

"That to remain in the active practice of medicine, more people must pay us for the work we do, for the reason that we cannot continue to pay cash (or pay within thirty days and carry so much unpaid to us as the expense is too great to do so. That we cannot go on two or three years with these accounts and many, many of them never paid. We believe that most persons could in some way satisfy their medical accounts-if they only made the necessary effort."

"We have in the past been very considerate of hard luck stories, but it takes money to buy medicines, automobiles, etc., and this expense is heavy. While the account you usually owe your doctor is small, remember that it is those hundreds of small accounts that he depends on for a living and to pay his expenses while he treats the sick. Most persons when calling their doctor say "Come as soon as possible," and many put off paying as long as possible."

"It is no consolation or aid in any way to tell the doctor that you have paid all you owe, except that you owe him."

"We, therefore, are issuing this warning, to all who do not satisfactorily adjust their doctors' accounts this fall, that we cannot go on as we have in the past, and that all accounts not so adjusted will be posted among us, that each doctor may know his neighbor doctor is respected in this matter."

"We do not wish to be hard on any one, but we are sorely in need of funds, and must ask all to pay up."

"Trusting that every one will take this matter seriously and help us out, we beg to remain, as ever, Yours truly, G. C. Lyon, M. D., J. B./ Hall, M. D. . W. E. Bell, M. D., J. R. Snider, M. D., T. N. Keoun, M. D."

It appears that times were hard for everyone in Bossier Parish in the 1920s, including the doctors who treated those in need of medical care. To find out more about how difficult times were in Bossier, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.