Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 169a, 1899

Exorbitant Fees


1899 and 1900

Compiled from letters and manuscripts in 1899 and 1900. Portions of this manuscript are published in MM 125-127, 169-171.

Honesty, integrity, justice, mercy, love, compassion, and sympathy are embraced in medical missionary work. In all this work the religion of the Bible is to be presented. The Lord does not want any one to labor as His representative who follows the wrong customs and practices of worldly physicians in treating suffering humanity. Our physicians need to reform in the matter of making high charges for critical operations; and the reform should extend farther than this. Often an exorbitant sum is charged for even small services, because physicians are supposed to be governed in their charges by the practices of worldly physicians. Some follow worldly policy in order to accumulate means, as they say, for God’s service. But God does not accept such offerings. He says, “I hate robbery for burnt offering.” Isaiah 61:8. Those who deal unjustly with their fellow men while professing to believe My words, I will judge for thus misrepresenting Me. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 1

As these things were presented before me, my teacher said, “The institutions that depend upon God and receive His cooperation must ever work according to the principles of His law.” To charge a large sum for a few moments’ work is not just. Physicians who are under the discipline of the greatest Physician the world ever knew must let the principles of the gospel regulate every fee. Let mercy and the love of God be written on every dollar received. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 2

When our sanitariums are conducted as they should be, a large medical missionary work will be done. Every one will do his work in such a way and with such a spirit that he will shine as a light in the world. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 3

God calls for practical, Christlike work. The patients who come to our sanitariums are to see carried out the principles laid down in the 58th chapter of Isaiah. Those who have accepted the truth are to practice it because it is the truth. In the work of God in our institutions the truth is to be preserved in all its sacred influences. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 4

The medical practitioner should in all places keep his religious principles clear and untarnished. Truth should be paramount in his practice. He is to use his influence as a means of cleansing the soul by the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness. When a time comes that physicians cannot do this, the Lord would have no more medical institutions established among Seventh-day Adventists. High prices are current in the world; but correct principles are to be brought into our work. The Bible standard is to be maintained. The way of the Lord, justice, mercy, and truth, is to be followed. No exorbitant bills are to be sent in for slight operations. The charges made are to be proportionate to the work done. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 5

The work done in our medical institutions is to be true to the name, “Medical Missionary Work.” We do not want the Lord to think ill of us because we misrepresent the work of Christ. God has not given us permission to do a work which will not bear the investigation of the judgment. He does not want any institution established by His people to bear a reputation similar to that borne by Ananias and Sapphira. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 6

Desiring to gain a reputation for self-sacrifice, liberality, and devotion to the Christian faith. Ananias and Sapphira sold their property, and laid part of the proceeds at the feet of the apostles, pretending they had given it all. They had no been urged to give all they had to the cause. God would have accepted part. But they desired it to be thought that they had given all. Thus they thought to gain the reputation they coveted, and at the same time keep back part of their money. They thought they had been successful in their scheme; but they were cheating the Lord, and He dealt summarily with this, the first case of deception and falsehood in the newly formed church. He slew them both, as a warning to all of the danger of sacrificing truth to gain favor. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 7

We are not to misrepresent what we profess to believe in order to gain favor. God despises misrepresentation and prevarication. He will not tolerate the man who says, and does not. The best and noblest work is done by fair, honest dealing. A lawyer came to Christ with the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” Christ asked. The lawyer answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” “Thou hast answered right,” Christ said; “this do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:25-28.] Upon these two great arms hang all the law and the prophets. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 8

We all need a far higher, purer, holier trust in God. Every physician should be true and honest. He is not in any case to defraud his patients. If he performs a simple operation, he is to charge a simple price. The charges made by other physicians are not to be his criterion. The diseased bodies over which he works are God’s property. He has said, “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. The exorbitant price often charged by physicians when called upon to attend suffering humanity is robbery, fraud. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 9

God gives physicians their wisdom and skill. It is not man who saves life; it is the Great Restorer. But poor men are often charged for services they never receive. Many physicians merely speak a few words to the suffering fellow being they are called to visit, doing nothing to relieve him, and they charge a large fee. This is dishonesty before God. They should go vigorously to work, as did the good Samaritan. God is not glorified as a Restorer when physicians demand such large sums for their services. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 10

In our sanitariums provision must be made for all classes. The Lord does not call upon our people to establish institutions where all who come, can receive food and lodging free, and where the peculiar points of our faith must not be introduced. The Lord has not laid this work upon any Seventh-day Adventist. To do this would be a misuse of time and means. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 11

The accommodation and treatment must be such that patients of the higher class will be attracted. Rooms must be fitted up for the use of those who are willing to pay a liberal price. But physicians are not to place too high an estimate on wealthy patients who can afford to pay high prices; neither is there to be an extravagant outlay of means with a view of gaining patronage. The charges for treatment and accommodations must not be so high that there will be a reluctance to keep to the simple, wholesome food that is essential to health. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 12

Ask a reasonable price for the treatment given. This course will recommend itself to all reasonable minds. To set your price above what is true and honest may be in accordance with the customs of worldly physicians, but it will not redound to the glory of God. It is not His plan, and will not gain His approval. It will have an unfavorable influence upon the world. The charging of such high prices will bring a rebound, and will have an influence altogether different from what is expected. Exorbitant prices should never be charged. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 13

I am commissioned to speak to all who are engaged as physicians in our institutions. A reformation is required in regard to the management of these institutions. They are not to be conducted as the world would conduct them. While many who cannot afford to pay, are treated free, others are charged exorbitant prices for operations which take but little time. The charges of worldly physicians are not to rule in our institutions. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 14

Many complaints have come to me regarding the high charges made for operations. Such charges greatly injure the medical missionary work. They bring it into disrepute so that it is bandied about and ridiculed as a scheme to get gain. This has been against us as a people, and has been a great burden upon my soul. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 15

Warnings and cautions have been given on these points from the Lord. He will not bless fraud in any phase of business transaction. The medical profession in general carries a heavy stock of unjust exactions, but shall we copy their sin? We are reformers. We are supposed to be pursuing a course that will represent the character of perfect humanity, the pure, elevated character of Christ. When this is true of us, a well-established purpose of strict integrity in things that are least will be carried by us into the larger responsibilities. Sanctified hearts will always reveal sanctified principles. 14LtMs, Ms 169a, 1899, par. 16