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Charging Patients a Cancellation Fee

April 12, 2011

Question:

Jennifer,

Can we charge a fee to a patient if they don’t show up for a visit without a good explanation?

Thanks, Dr. K

Answer:

Good question. One that comes up often. The AMA has addressed this situation in its Ethical Opinions which states:

Opinion 8.01 - Appointment Charges A physician may charge a patient for a missed appointment or for one cancelled 24 hours in advance if the patient is fully advised that the physician will make such a charge.

Be advised that for those insurance plans you participate with, and for the beneficiaries that come to see you, you should check with each plan that a cancellation charge is not in breach of your contractual arrangement (although in most cases such a fee is not addressed and therefore is acceptable). To implement this policy its important for your practice to adopt and disseminate to your patients a written policy advising that the practice may charge them cancellation fees, which would be incorporated as a part of your standard practice policies.

If your practice has not yet adopted written policies other than your required privacy form, I am available to discuss those policies your practice should have to operate in a compliant manner. Also, you may want to click here to view the customizable policies every practice may be required to have.

(As a frame of reference, under our current statutory authority every practice utilizing the internet is required to have a security policy, every practice performing above the threshold amount of Medicaid is required to have a compliance plan, and every practice is required to have up to date HIPAA policies.)

 

For additional information on this topic, contact Jennifer Kirschenbaum at (516)-747-6700 ext. 302 or at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com.

 

Copyright © 2011 by Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, P.C.
All Rights Reserved. This email is provided for news and information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an invitation to an attorney-client relationship. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC does not guarantee such accuracy and cannot be held liable for any errors in, any reliance upon this, or losses caused by the information. Under New York’s Code of Professional Responsibility, this material may constitute attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


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