Q. Why is Centegra instituting a Missed Appointment Policy and cancellation fee?
A. Each day, missed appointments cause scheduling inefficiencies and lost time for our physicians and other clinical providers. The policy and fee are intended to improve scheduling efficiencies for Centegra and ensure maximum clinical access. When patients miss appointments not only do our providers experience non-productive time, access for other patients is limited.
Q. What is the definition of a Missed Appointment?
A. A Missed Appointment is an appointment not kept by the patient or a cancellation within less than 24 hours of the scheduled appointment time. This applies to both no-shows and rescheduled appointments at Centegra Physician Care locations as well as our hospitals.
Q. If a patient reschedules an appointment with less than 24-hour notice would the cancellation fee be charged? (For example, the patient has an appointment at 2 p.m. today and called at 8 a.m. today to reschedule.)
A. Yes. The cancellation or reschedule must occur 24 hours prior to the actual appointment.
Q. How should the Missed Appointment Policy and cancellation fee be communicated to patients?
A. The new policy and the associated fee should be clearly communicated in multiple ways:
- Post signs and/or posters in patient areas
- Educate the patient about the policy/fee over the phone when an appointment is scheduled
- Remind the patient of the policy/fee if a reminder call is made prior to the appointment
- Ask the patient to sign the policy/fee acknowledgement form at the time of the office visit
Q. How is the patient billed for the fee?
A. Centegra does not bill insurance for the Missed Appointment fee. The missed appointment fee will be a separate line item on the bill and in most cases it will be the only charge on the bill since clinical services were not provided. The patient/guarantor will receive the usual monthly statement.
Q. Does the cancellation fee apply to Medicaid and Medicare patients?
A. Yes. Like all patients, Medicaid and Medicare patients will be billed directly to their homes. Medicaid and Medicare will not be billed.
Q. Can departments set their own cancellation fees?
A. No. It is important to have a standard fee across the system when applying the policy. Centegra patients should expect the same experience and fee at each location.
Q. What if a patient is upset about the policy or being billed for a cancellation fee?
A. It is possible patients may initially be upset about the fee. This is why it’s very important that each scheduled patient is told about the policy, asked to sign an acknowledgement form and reminded of the fee at the appropriate times. If a patient is upset, kindly remind the patient he or she was informed about the policy and fee at the time the appointment was scheduled. You may refer to the signed document scanned to the account.
Q. What if a patient says they have never been charge a cancellation fee previously?
A. Kindly inform the patient the new policy became effective 9/3/14 and that every effort is being made to communicate the policy to patients.
Q. If the appointment is missed, is there an attempt to reschedule?
A. Yes, proactive attempts will be made to reschedule the patient’s appointment.
Q. How does the patient pay the fee?
A. Once patients receive a statement payment can be made through the current options, which include online, by phone or mailing the payment with statement. Patients will be eligible for charity and financial assistance; therefore no discounts will be applied to the fees for missed appointments.
Q. What should be said if a patient refuses to sign the agreement?
A. If the patient is onsite and available to sign prior to services, registrars should follow this script: “This is our new policy and we ask that you reschedule or notify us 24 hours prior to the appointment so we can appropriately handle the time slot. Your signature is not required for enforcement of such fee.” On the form, Associates should notate “patient refused to sign” in addition to their initials and the date.