What is your facility's policy on late patient arrivals?

  1. I would love to hear what other clinics do. This is something we struggle with VERY MUCH, and we're trying to hammer down some policies, and I'm really interested how other places do it.

    Also, what is your check-in process? Take a number, write their name on a clipboard, just stand in line, or....?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    This doesn't answer the question posed in the OP but it reminded me of the dental office that I left after getting billed $50 for a no-show to an appointment I never made for the third time (in addition to other disappointments with the care I received). I couldn't fathom how the scheduling person could 'make' appointments for me three times without bothering to inform me about them. By the third time it happened, I had come to the conclusion that this was a method of increasing the office revenue stream and I found another dentist. So, this is one method of dealing with no-shows, send them a bill for not showing up (whether or not there was a missed appointment!)
  4. by   klone
    Quote from caliotter3
    This doesn't answer the question posed in the OP but it reminded me of the dental office that I left after getting billed $50 for a no-show to an appointment I never made for the third time (in addition to other disappointments with the care I received). I couldn't fathom how the scheduling person could 'make' appointments for me three times without bothering to inform me about them. By the third time it happened, I had come to the conclusion that this was a method of increasing the office revenue stream and I found another dentist. So, this is one method of dealing with no-shows, send them a bill for not showing up (whether or not there was a missed appointment!)
    The problem with that is that we are an FQHC. 98% of our patients are Medicaid or uninsured. They don't pay their bills for rendered services, let alone missed appointments. That might work in a private-pay clinic, but it just won't work with our patient demographic.
  5. by   LTCNS
    Your clinic may have tried this klone, but in the last family health clinic I worked in if a patient was 15 minutes late, he/she was considered a walk-in, so if someone walked in prior to, or at the time of the scheduled patient's appt. time, the walk-in was taken back first. Does that make sense?
  6. by   klone
    Quote from LTCNS
    Your clinic may have tried this klone, but in the last family health clinic I worked in if a patient was 15 minutes late, he/she was considered a walk-in, so if someone walked in prior to, or at the time of the scheduled patient's appt. time, the walk-in was taken back first. Does that make sense?
    No, but that could be because I'm still working on my first cup of coffee.
  7. by   advsmuch08
    Unfortunately, at my clinic, if patients are late we squeeze them in or see if a different doctor in the clinic can see them. I think this only encourages people to continue showing up when they feel like it. If they don't show up to their appointments then we contact them to notfiy them. They are given several chances or they are discharged from the clinic.
  8. by   pfchang
    Klone, I worked in a large FP office. Late patients were seen or not seen, depending on the decision of the provider. I should clarify--it was supposed to be up to the provider, but some MAs would take it upon themselves to make the decision and providers did not always know about it. Most providers would try to see the patient but if they were really late or the appt wax expected to be long and would screw up the schedule for the rest of the provider's patients, then they would be asked to reschedule. Unfortunately, some just had to be worked in.

    The chronically late would be required to reschedule. No shows would get three strikes and then a letter terminating from the practice.

    Check in was standing in line.
  9. by   klone
    Man, I wish we could fire patients for no-shows.
  10. by   nursel56
    The last place I worked had the 15 minute rule, but that was something that could be modified depending on how busy we were, what their appointment was for (ie a BP and weight check vs minor surgery) the reason they were late and their past lateness history.

    With some, especially those who call first, the provider might wait for them 10 minutes after closing.

    The patient population was mostly employed groups with lots of resources, though. They sign the old-fashioned clipboard!

    Just an aside--I went to the dentist and saw they were using a paper appointment book! Oh the nostalgia!
  11. by   MrChicagoRN
    Quote from LTCNS
    Your clinic may have tried this klone, but in the last family health clinic I worked in if a patient was 15 minutes late, he/she was considered a walk-in, so if someone walked in prior to, or at the time of the scheduled patient's appt. time, the walk-in was taken back first. Does that make sense?
    We had a 30 minute rule. After 30, there was no guarantee of being seen. If there was an available open spot, we'd put them in there, but they'd have to wait for that time before being seen. Otherwise, they'd need to reschedule for another day.
  12. by   pfchang
    Quote from klone
    Man, I wish we could fire patients for no-shows.
    Totally different population, though. I neglected to mention that we didn't see Medicaid or Medicare patients. Most patients had insurance. It was no concierge practice but it was owned by the physicians and there was no one they had to report anything to (except quality data) but that's a different subject altogether.
  13. by   BuckyBadgerRN
    Yup same here. You can stroll in whenever the hell you feel like it and we'll see you. "Well, they're a shot patient, so we need to see them". No, they need to value their vision enough to respect the time of staff and other patients that they inconveinence. And patients know this. They KNOW we will see them no matter what. Pizzes me off to no end!!!


    Quote from advsmuch08
    Unfortunately, at my clinic, if patients are late we squeeze them in or see if a different doctor in the clinic can see them. I think this only encourages people to continue showing up when they feel like it. If they don't show up to their appointments then we contact them to notfiy them. They are given several chances or they are discharged from the clinic.
  14. by   BuckyBadgerRN
    Oh, and I used to work in dentistry, we did NOT charge for failed appointments. We also wouldn't see you if you were more than 15 minutes late and at that point we would take people who were ON TIME over the latey lucy's.
    I work in ophthalmology now, FAR busier. We do not have time to be letting people walk all over us with regards to appointment times

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