Practices often struggle with the idea of charging patients a fee for a no show or last minute cancellations. The belief has been that we can use the charge as a threat to reduce no shows, teach a lesson to the chronic no-show patients and allow the practice to re-cover some lost production.
While this sounds like a solid plan, experience shows that this technique does little to deter people. It is hard to enforce and the result is often upset patients that leave the practice and a team wasting time trying to collect the uncollectible. It’s a triple negative.
Instead, let’s try an approach that will lead happy patients that stay and a practice that is not losing production. It may sound too good to be true but stay with me.
The Booyah list
I bet you could list for me right now 12 patients on your schedule that will no-show on you. Yet, you pre-scheduled them! You did this.
It’s time to face the fact some patients will never be reliable enough to pre-schedule. These people belong on a special list. I call my list the ‘Booyah’ list. I offer these patients a special deal. They will call me on the day they need to get in and likewise I will call them when I need them.
This turns a frustrating situation into a major win/win. They get to save the day by filling a hole in our schedule instead of CREATING a hole. We also get to be their hero by allowing them to come in when they have the time.
Shame on us if we keep scheduling a chronic no-show patient. These people are not going to miraculously become conscientious about keeping appointments because 6 months has passed! We do this to ourselves. Save yourself the agony and turn these patients into your favorites – the ones that come when you call! Everyone wins and is happy – just the way we like it.