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Opinion on missed appointment policies

mayachel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
1,749
I have a random from my life question. I received a notice today that I missed an acupuncture appointment three weeks ago. I had been going regularly for about 5 weeks or so, but do not have a record of having scheduling the missed appointment in my calender, and distinctly thought I had not scheduled one for the day missed. I also have been too busy with other appointments to go since. There is a nominal $15 fee for missed appointments. Not a hardship to pay. However, on principle-1) I am not sure I ever scheduled this appointment. 2) I feel that they should have called to tell me I had missed the appointment the first day it was missed (there is a receptionist it is not a one-person operation). 3) Especially because I live literally 2 blocks away from the office and could have run over immediately to make good on the appointment or at the very least had a better sense of if the scheduling was a mistake since my previous appointment was just a few days prior, and not now almost a full month ago.

How would you proceed? Or advise me to proceed?
 

mayerling

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
2,357
Have you mentioned the three points you have stated above to them? Maybe you could start with that and see how it goes.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Apr 30, 2005
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28,947
I'm really into personal responsibility, almost to a fault.
I have no problem being charged the full price for any medical office visit I miss, even if I miss it because some drunk driver ran into my car on the way to the appointment.

It is not the doctor's fault I took up their time and didn't show.
They could have sold that time to another person if not for me, so it's almost like stealing.
My fault.
I'm an adult now.

This is my opinion and it only applies to me.

Now if you did not actually make the appointment that is a different mater entirely.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
Messages
9,294
If I schedule an appointment, it is my responsibility to show up. I do really like the offices that give reminder calls a day or two ahead if it was scheduled weeks (or more) out -- I've actually had one of those calls where they had written down the wrong day for me in their book! (I think they just corrected in their book to the correct day since it was recently enough she remembered me making the appointment).

I believe it is fair for doctors (etc) to have fees up to the full cost of the scheduled appointment since I scheduled their time and then didn't show up. If they are able to fit a walk-in client in during that time or have someone come in from the cancellation list, then I think they should waive the fee since they really did not lose any business due to me.

For really bad traffic or car problems (or whatever) that come up last minute, I call the office and explain the situation. Sometimes the person with the appointment after me is early so they just switch us. I've also gotten lucky and had them mostly free for the day and just push my appointment time off a bit. All that is really just luck though and I wouldn't blame them if they couldn't do something like that and charged me a fee.


I think if I was in your place, I'd pay the $15 after talking with them (my memory is only so good and I may have entered it wrong in my calendar). I'd also mention the points you made (reminder call, notification that day instead of weeks later) and see what they say. If I was still interested in that sort of service and had no other issues with them, I'd schedule again but be very careful at recording my appointments so that if it happened again I'd be able to know for certain it was not an error on my part.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
I think it's fair to have the policy, but I think there is a "right" way to go about it, which is to inform you that you have a confirmed appointment. What my dentist does (who charges a stiff no-show fee) is call 2 days before the visit so that you have time to realize if there is an error in the scheduling. If you don't think you had an appointment then I'd contest it.
 

AmeliaG

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
880
Hmm, was the missed appointment on your regular day to go to acupuncture and you just weren't planning to go that particular day? Some offices hold your slot for you for your regular times. For recurring appointments, I actually find it more convenient rather than having to tell them every week, yes, I'm coming next week but it does put the burden on you to let them know when you're not coming.
 

basil

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
1,526
Well, if you didn't make the appointment, then it's kind of a different story.

Our office does not have this policy. Because of our location - in the middle of a city with a lot of traffic, parking lots that are not quite adequate, and patients that come from quite a distance - we often have people who are late or no shows. What ends up happening is that we behave like an airline and overschedule with the expectation of no shows. And you can guess how that ends up when everyone does show!
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
centralsquare|1311790257|2978140 said:
I think it's fair to have the policy, but I think there is a "right" way to go about it, which is to inform you that you have a confirmed appointment. What my dentist does (who charges a stiff no-show fee) is call 2 days before the visit so that you have time to realize if there is an error in the scheduling. If you don't think you had an appointment then I'd contest it.
I agree with this.

I do think it goes both ways, however. Doctors rarely respect my time, and by this I mean that most of the doctors I have ever seen keep me waiting for at least an hour, and often much longer, past my scheduled appointment time. Then, the receptionists seem to get miffed when I come in and ask how late they are running. It seems like a reasonable question to me! If you're running two hours behind schedule, there are things I can be doing besides reading in a chair in your waiting room, thankyouverymuch.

If you think you didn't schedule this appointment, I'd fight the fee.
 

CJ2008

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
4,750
Haven|1311799365|2978248 said:
I do think it goes both ways, however. Doctors rarely respect my time, and by this I mean that most of the doctors I have ever seen keep me waiting for at least an hour, and often much longer, past my scheduled appointment time. Then, the receptionists seem to get miffed when I come in and ask how late they are running. It seems like a reasonable question to me! If you're running two hours behind schedule, there are things I can be doing besides reading in a chair in your waiting room, thankyouverymuch.
YES YES YES

Why is their time more important/valuable than mine?

I've gotten into the habit of calling some time right before my scheduled time to ask if the doctor is running behind. That's not foolproof - but it has helped me in some occasions.

15 minutes waiting time is acceptable - even 30. I understand that some patients may have more questions, etc. But any thing over that, they should call patients and let them know - I'd like to charge them a fee for MY time.
 

mayachel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
1,749
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I think I will just go ahead and pay the $15 since I feel like I have no way of knowing since I distinctly thought I hadn't scheduled, other than their statement that I did. I will then go ahead and include a letter about my perception of poor service in terms of not being alerted that I had missed an appointment until weeks later.

I completely agree about personal responsibility. I am getting used to the fact that few of my doctor's call anymore with reminder calls for appointments ahead of time. I do however find it odd that they wouldn't call to "check in" to make sure I was ok when I missed an appointment, as I was being treated for an on-going issue that had me on the fence of being hospitalized or not. (Thankfully, I have been much healthier since, and that is not why I didn't show up, but I would expect them to worry that could have been the case since I haven't been back either.)
 
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