What are the real costs of no show appointments?

There is nothing a doctor’s office hates more than no shows. Let’s define a no show. A no show, like it sounds, happens when a client or patient misses an appointment without calling and notifying the office at least 24 hours ahead of time.

Doesn’t sound like much of a big deal right? One missed appointment…life goes on….no one gets hurt and it costs nothing…..Wrong! That is the wrong way to look at it. There are actually multiple costs associated with this undesirable scenario. The first and most important cost is to the patient. The patient misses out on getting the treatment that they need and the attention that they deserve. The second cost is to the office. Every appointment slot costs money in salaries, staff time, and supplies. When a patient does not show up, all those resources go to waste if we don’t have the opportunity to re-book that slot. This brings me to the third cost. This cost goes to the patient that didn’t have the opportunity to get an appointment because the slots were already filled, or so we thought. So, in one small and fairly inconsiderate swoop, multiple people are affected.

Sadly, I think that most patients do not even stop to consider any of these costs, until they get notified that they will be charged a small no show fee of 25 dollars, which doesn’t even come close to what the office has already spent. We aren’t even allowed to charge it to all insurances. Then it’s all hands on deck. The tables are turned quickly. The no show patient becomes an instant victim in their own mind. They become irate and refuse to pay it. Righteous indignation rears it’s ugly head. They yell and scream at the staff regarding the unfairness of the situation. Sometimes they even threaten to never come back, as if that will really teach us a lesson and discourage us from ever holding them accountable for anything. I regret to say, it won’t work. We are just going to keep on charging no show fees and attempting to hold patients accountable. We are still going to try to make ourselves available to as many patients as we can and plan ahead to make each visit as fruitful as possible, as if every patient is just as invested in their health as we are. Have a great day everyone.

Dr. Katz

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