April 12, 2011



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

Thanks, Dr. K


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.


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