Video | Billing Patients No-Show Fees
Medical Billing Tips Video Transcripts
Hi, my name is Manny Oliverez, Director of Operations here at Capture Billing, and today we are going to talk about charging no-show fees. Here at Capture, we get a lot of questions asking, “Should we charge for no-shows when a patient doesn’t show up?” Well, the answer to that is a resounding “Yes!” Charge those patients.
Let’s say you have a patient come in – well, actually, he doesn’t come in – and he misses his appointment. What happens to this doctor? Well, he’s just left twiddling his thumbs, and there is a vacant slot that could have been used for someone who is actually sick.
So, what we want to do is we want to charge the patient for not showing up as a negative reinforcement to not do that. So what are practices charging for no show fees? I’ve seen them charge anywhere from $10.00 to $25.00 for a sick visit, $50.00 to maybe $75.00 for a well check or physical exam, and I’ve seen them as high as $125.00 if they miss a procedure. That’s quite a bit of money, but you’re training your patient not to miss that appointment.
Now, how do we inform the patient about the no-show fees? Well, the best thing to do is, when they become a new patient, they should be signing a financial agreement with your practice. In that agreement you’re going to spell out that a missed appointment is $25.00, or whatever you want to charge. It depends on your practice, your specialty, what part of the country you’re in – whatever seems to be fair.
Spell that out, and also spell out how much notice they have to give you – how much notice in order to cancel that appointment. Whether it is 48 hours, or 24 hours, or just that day, it’s totally up to you, but make sure that they sign that agreement. Because what’s going to happen is when you charge them and send them out that bill, they are going to end up calling you and saying, “Hey, what are you doing charging me for this?” You can always refer back to that agreement.
Also, I would suggest the first time they miss an appointment, use it as an educational talk. Inform them why it is important to keep or cancel their appointment, and possibly even waive that first fee. Note it in the account, so that if it happens again, you will charge them. That’s what practices are doing, and it is okay to charge a no show fee.
Always check with your local regulations, your state, and your insurance companies to see how this all works out with them. Remember, a medical practice is a business. Treating it any other way is just nuts.