spring 2013

c o m m o n   r e v o l t   a g a i n s t   p a p e r w o r k   (c. r. a. p.)
Missed appointments


Part 1

John Crowell, HSIMS, Photo


Dr. Paul Bonisteel

Dentists do it. Vets do it. Now I’m doing it too — billing for missed appointments.

By Dr. Paul Bonisteel

Dentists do it. Vets do it. Now I’m doing it too billing for missed appointments.

I introduced this a couple of years ago. My clinic brochure has always allowed for it. I posted signs three months in advance of initiating the practice. The NLMA schedule of non-insured services allows for it.

My pitch to patients is this, 'if you don’t call to cancel you disadvantage other patients of the practice on the cancellation list who could have taken that appointment time.'

A letter goes out. If a patient returns with the letter to contest the bill I give them my pitch, waive the bill but tell them they will be monitored.

What is amazing is the number of recidivists there are – persons who’d rather pay the fee repeatedly than call. I have a strategy for them too. After three “did-not-call” episodes they are not given appointment times but told that if they want to see me they’ll have to come to the after hour walk-in clinic. A sterner pitch is given then quite simply because I cannot run a practice with too many no-shows.

A colleague of mine once said “you have to put a value on your service because if you don’t no one else will”. This practice has cut my no-shows a lot and enabled me to accommodate more people on any given day on the waiting-for-a-cancellation list.


Got ideas to share about how to reduce or get rid of unnecessary paper work? Send your ideas to Dr. Paul Bonisteel.



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