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No-show fees - are they enforceable? Do you pay them?

21 posts in this topic

Posted

I had a first and last visit with a really crappy doctor (not a pdoc), and they just sent me a bill for a no-show fee for what would have been my second appointment. Since during my first appointment I had to wait over an hour for the doctor, and I am not billing her for my time that day, I am not planning on paying this fee, especially since I won't be returning to see her. If I was planning to go back, I would pay it, but I was on the verge of reporting her for her non-professional conduct, and never did it as I lost interest. But suddenly I'm interested in reporting her again.

On the other hand, I'm not interested in any more damage to my credit score. Have you been charged a no-show fee, and did you pay it? If you didn't pay it, did the doctor send it to a collection agency?

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Posted

I have been charged one. I will be paying it. It sucked, I was at an interview and I even called a little while before my appointment tot cancel.

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Posted

I've had doctors threaten collections over a $20 no show fee. douchebag doctor.

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Posted

I think no show fees are legally collectable, provided you signed paperwork that you agree to them. I'm not sure if different states have different laws, but I believe that if you signed paperwork agreeing to a no show fee and did not cancel your appointment, it is legally binding.

Anna

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Posted

It is likely that they will send a bill collector after you if you don't pay it. My advice is to call the doc's office and see if you can work something out.

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Posted

Every time I've had to sign agreements with no-show fee clauses, I've altered/annotated them. Charging me for having a seizure (or even a "drop everything now" emergency in our shop) - not exactly fair.

I think no show fees are legally collectable, provided you signed paperwork that you agree to them. I'm not sure if different states have different laws, but I believe that if you signed paperwork agreeing to a no show fee and did not cancel your appointment, it is legally binding.

Anna

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Posted

I think no show fees are legally collectable, provided you signed paperwork that you agree to them. I'm not sure if different states have different laws, but I believe that if you signed paperwork agreeing to a no show fee and did not cancel your appointment, it is legally binding.

I love my doc, but she charges $100 for a missed appt regardless of reason. I signed an agreement like Anna mentioned so I've had to pay them. Sucks, but, like you said, you don't want a credit agency coming after you.

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Posted

Charging me for having a seizure (or even a "drop everything now" emergency in our shop) - not exactly fair.

Why not ? It is not about fault, it is about you holding up a professionals time when they could be seeing other patients. Seems fair to me, regardless of the reason. I suspect, though, that some docs will give you a break for true unexpected emergencies.

nf

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Posted

I've always had to wait an hour+ just to see my pdoc. He schedules two people at one time. I've also had to pay no-show fees for my psychologist or she wouldn't see me again.

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Posted (edited)

You guys need to move countries. There are a lot of abuse situations (and I think charging someone who is unstable a no-show fee for what may amount as an emergency to that person as abuse) that I read on the boards and keep quiet about but 100 USD for missing an appointment (assuming you have a valid reason) seems criminal to me.

I understand the argument about tying up a professionals time, but these are highly specialized professionals that deal with highly troubled individuals. If you can't make allowances for patient conditions and your solution is to have a high school type absolute policy where you don't consider people's reasons and on top of that you ruin their credit by sending them to bill collection, well you should switch professions.

I read on one of the boards a few week back about a guy/girl (don't remember which) who got sent to collections because she couldn't make an appointment because her agoraphobia got the better of her because her meds stopped working. I doubt this person could even make a phone call, let alone go to an office! And they had to deal with the oh so helpful office staff (broiled in sarcasm). Lets not consider the fact this person may/likely was broke to top it off.

I love America, but there are plenty of times when I'm glad I'm not american, you guys take a lot of abuse and look at it as normal.

Best.

Edited by Hooker

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Posted

Calling missed appointment fees abusive seems a bit excessive. I'd guess that the reason they're so prevalent among tdoc's and pdoc's is the propensity of the population they serve to miss appointments with no notice, for no particular reason. I've certainly done it. And I paid the fee.

Pdocs and tdocs are basically running businesses. It doesn't really matter why people don't show up, if they don't cancel and don't show up. That behavior actually seems more like abuse of the provider, than their charging a fee does of patients.

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Posted

i suppose i can see how charging fees for no-shows makes sense. however, i do believe if fairness were a consideration, the circumstances around cancelling an appointment should be considered. you might not know 24 hours before the appointment that you're going to wake up the next day with a fever of 103 and have to stay in bed, or that your kid would fall out of a tree at school that morning, or that your car would die just as you embark on a half-hour drive to get to the doctor's office. life happens like that sometimes. i wouldn't like my pdoc very much if she charged me $100 under those circumstances. unless the "life happens" is chronic or something, i don't see why it would hurt to waive the fee sometimes.

(but i like assuming p/tdocs are considerate people. yeah i know, stop laughing at me.)

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Posted

My pdoc charges $105 for a no-show. I think that's what she gets when she combines the copay with the fee portion that is usually paid by the insurer.

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Posted

Calling missed appointment fees abusive seems a bit excessive. I'd guess that the reason they're so prevalent among tdoc's and pdoc's is the propensity of the population they serve to miss appointments with no notice, for no particular reason. I've certainly done it. And I paid the fee.

Pdocs and tdocs are basically running businesses. It doesn't really matter why people don't show up, if they don't cancel and don't show up. That behavior actually seems more like abuse of the provider, than their charging a fee does of patients.

It's our responsibility as patients to not use our illnesses as excuses. You know you had this appointment for some time and if you can't leave your house it is reasonable that you call early enough to give 24 ours notice. I have seen docs be reasonable about this, when the whole city was flooded and phone service was spotty they did not charge me even though I did not call. I think it is ridiculous to suddenly start billing for your time when 1) your time is not billable, 2) You have never billed for your time in the past. You can just turn it on to suit you.

nf

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Posted

If you call 24 hrs or more in advance, the doc has time to schedule someone else in or make plans to do something with their time. If you don't call in advance, that is their lost income due to YOU not them. Why should they be penalized for your lack of consideration?

I've paid no show fees. I've also had them waived when circumstances were not really in my control. I also had a doc who did a one time freebe. My reg doc does not charge no show fees, which I like, but she is in a clinic and is paid regardless of my appearance.

OP, some docs will go to collections. Others won't. Some collection agencies give you a chance to pay without a ding on your credit score. Some don't. I'm not sure the gamble is worth it. If you scheduled the appt and didn't cancel, it is your obligation to pay unless you have a contract or state law that says it is not. Not scheduling takes no time. Canceling is a phone call. You dropped the ball. I'd own up.

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Posted

On a different (so please don't accuse me of mixing subjects) but not entirely unrelated subject:

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/dentist-threatens-sue-patient-negative-yelp-review-131752629.html

This is what you get when you start looking at this stuff as acceptable, I'm sure the forms mentioned in this article didn't start out as what they ended up.

I don't think it matters that you are loosing money because someone doesn't show up to their appointment in the highly specialized field of psychiatry (if you are a dentist, by all means, charge a 200 USD no show fee, people should not waste your time), people don't use their diseases as excuses but they are valid excuses none the same for not showing up to an appointment when you take a turn for the worse. It's the absolute notion of these fees that gets to me. If you can't deal with the fact that psych patients will sometimes not make their appointments because of their disease (and you are a psychiatrist/psychologist), then you need to switch fields. Sending a mentally ill person who is more likely than not without means to collection and ruining their credit is unconscionable. Let's not even discuss ruining their trust and relationship with you over 100 bucks.

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Posted

If you can't deal with the fact that psych patients will sometimes not make their appointments because of their disease (and you are a psychiatrist/psychologist), then you need to switch fields. Sending a mentally ill person who is more likely than not without means to collection and ruining their credit is unconscionable. Let's not even discuss ruining their trust and relationship with you over 100 bucks.

Amen!

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Posted (edited)

people don't use their diseases as excuses but they are valid excuses none the same for not showing up to an appointment when you take a turn for the worse.

They need to learn coping skills to keep things like being charged late fees from happening.

nf

Edited by notfred

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Posted

I think if you are too manic to have a decent concept of time, you should be cut slack by psych professionals. Mine have. But that's different than being too tired to go in or preferring to do something else or too depressed or whatever where you are mentally capable of knowing you have made an appt and reasonably knowing when it is.

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Posted

My neuro will let it slide if I have a migraine these days, because he knows it is so frequent; he is at a PPO, and can usually find a use for the time anyway. My husband's neurosurgeon doesn't charge no-show fees, either. BUT, my husband's MD is at a teaching hospital, and is salaried. My dad was at a teaching hospital, and salaried, and he didn't charge no show fees.

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Posted

I work at a mental health clinic that doesn't charge no-show fees and teh no-show rate is just ridiculous. It's amazing they keep afloat. So I'm in favor of no-show fees.

That said, in Massachusetts AFAIK you cannot charge a Medicaid patient a no-show fee. I don't know if you have Medicaid or what State you're in .

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