Do you every have a therapy patient no show at your outpatient clinic? The patient that is schedule for an initial evaluation, or a follow up visit? For a new evaluation you have likely blocked off the time of a physical or occupational therapist on the schedule, and if the patient does not show up for the evaluation the time slot is likely not able to be filled. Cancellations and no shows have consistently plagued therapy practices. Therapists become concerned about productivity measures, and practice have taken to placing reminder calls to patients the day before, as well as using text message appointment reminders.
Charging for a Therapy Patient No Show
The question of charging for a missed appointment often comes up when practices are managing patient no shows and cancellations. Can you charge a patient when they miss an appointment and don’t cancel in advance? You may be surprised to learn that this practice is allowable by Medicare.
CMS policy allows physicians, providers, and suppliers to charge Medicare beneficiaries for missed appointments, provided that they do not discriminate against Medicare beneficiaries but also charge non-Medicare patients for missed appointments and the charges for Medicare and non-Medicare patient are the same.
According to the CMS Policy the charge to a patient for a missed appointment is not a charge for a the therapy itself, but rather a charge for a missed business opportunity. Therefore, if you policy on missed appointment applies equally to all patients (Medicare and non-Medicare), then the Medicare law and regulations do not preclude ta therapy practice from charging the Medicare beneficiary directly for the lost business opportunity.
Do you have patients that no show for appointments without cancelling? Do you have a written policy on changes for no show appointments? Does your policy apply equally to Medicare and non-Medicare patients? Do you inform your patients of this policy? It may be time to “make up” for a lost business opportunity.