As practice owners one of the hardest aspects to manage is patients failing to attend or calling to cancel at the last minute. This causes other patients to miss out, your practitioner missing out on being paid, the practice missing out on its commission, and good deal of frustration and eventual despondency on the part of practitioner and you.In my experience patients failing to attend or cancelling late can make or break a practice let alone the practitioner. I’ve seen practices reach 30-40% of weekly appointments accounting for these patients, which is a significant proportion of your gross income.
Enough is enough!
You deserve to be paid. In fact if you’re not paid there won’t be a practice for your patients to come to.
Now before I let you know on a secret we need to get one thing really clear.
Patients don’t tell the truth! Now I know you’re thinking that’s harsh. The reality is people want to do the right thing this is true however, when we catch them out, its human nature to revert back to a child being told off and what follows is justification and white lying to get out of trouble. I’m sure you’ve heard all the excuses.
So let’s think for a minutes about your Grade A clients. They’re the ones who tell you their car broke down that morning, then they mis-placed their debit card followed by a sudden sick child needing to stay home. They tell you all this at the appointment that they turned up for on time.
You’re Grade A’s who can’t make it are happy to compensate you for your time because they respect your time as much as you respect theirs.
So as a practice we need to make a decision. Are we prepared to be a ‘Stand’ for our patient’s health and wellbeing even when our patients struggle? Are we prepared to put $ currency before love currency to enable us to create and maintain a practice to see our clients? Are we prepared to cull our Grade B’s and C’s and not add meaning making it personal?
If you can answer YES to these 3 questions then you are ready for the FREE PASS POLICY.
The FREE PASS policy:
All patients are entitled to a free pass regardless of who they are seeing. This is not made public until the need arises. This is based on the overall goodwill of the clinic.
This means a patient maybe a NP for one practitioner but has already seen another for some time and has not exercised this right. They may also be brand new to the clinic.
Reception / practitioner is entitled to exercise some discretion case by case.
This is how it works.
We give them 24 hours prior to an apt to cancel or reschedule. We SMS usually within about 30 mins of missed appt. If not heard from by the end of the shift we bill and letter. If already had a free pass we send the letter. If not had a free pass we usually wait to following day then send letter. If patient contacts us day of apt and already had a free pass – then bill & letter sent same day.
If you would like to change this procedure please let me know. If someone has already had a free pass giving those 24 hours won’t change much, unless they contact us the next day with a very big reason. In which case we usually tell them to ignore the letter sent. However, they obviously realise at this point we are prepared to bill if they don’t contact us. Good lesson for the future.
So what are you going to do? If you’re serious about growing a Grade a practice then you need to embrace this procedure. More and more practices are doing the same with incredible success.
For more information you reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me online.