Have you ever wondered if you should be charging a “NO SHOW” fee, when a patient fails to show up for an appointment, or procedure?  While I encourage a charge for this, I also recommend this fee be used as a teaching tool for your patients. Whatever your decision or feelings are about “NO SHOW” fees, be educated on proper usage.

Do you charge patients for “NO SHOW”?  If not, what is your reasoning? Think about it.  Your medical practice is a business, just like any other business.  Today’s billing regulations require more of your time and investment and produce decreased payments, so when a patient fails to show up for their scheduled appointment (without giving notice), this leaves your practice with added loss. If you can afford this, then there is no reason to read any further.  However, if you are trying to be fair to you, your staff and your business, you should consider charging a “NO SHOW” fee.

Do you charge patients for “NO SHOW”?  If yes, are you doing it legally? Before you can legally charge a patient a “NO SHOW” fee, they must be informed of the charge and the amount.  This is something that should be a part of your new patient paperwork.  Be explicit about the “NO SHOW” fee.  Whatever you charge ($25, $50, etc) make sure it is spelled out including how much notice is required for cancellation (if any) and the patient signs off on this with their signature.  In the event the patient fails to show for an appointment, you simply charge the patients’ account for this.  I promise, the patient will be calling and asking about this fee.  At this point you simply remind them of your policy and how it was part of the original paperwork that they signed.  Having notices in the waiting room and exam rooms is also a good idea.  Understand, this is not a fee covered by any insurance and since the patient will have to pay out of pocket, they will quickly learn not to be a “NO SHOW” in the future.  Keep in mind, you can be flexible with this charge.  If it’s the first time the patient was a “NO SHOW”, or if the patient was a “NO SHOW” for reasons beyond their control, you can verbally educate them on your policy and the fact they signed acknowledgement of this policy, and you can waive it this time (if you want).

Whatever your decision, as your Medical Billing Service providing end-to-end Revenue Cycle Management services, MBO can help with this matter and all other billing matters that arise.  Give us a call at 573.634.7155 and see how we can partner up to provide professional care and billing standards to all your patients.