Let's Help Each Other

Physical therapy is changing rapidly. As a PT with more than thirty years of experience, the changes observed in the last ten years triple those of the first twenty years. The pace of change is not slowing down. The Medigraph Blog will serve as a forum that will enable us to exchange ideas and assist each other. This blog will be used to share billing, documentation, and any other ideas to improve any aspects of our profession. If we share what we have learned, we can develop a resource that enables our collective understanding to advance our careers.

As profit margins grow smaller and expenses grow larger, we need to assist each other to survive and prosper. If we share our experiences we can help each other to grow professionally, administratively, and financially. Our professional lives, our livelihood, and our personal lives are intertwined. Our resources individually are limited. Together we can accomplish more than we can individually. Let's help each other

Regards,

Tom Kane, PT
MediGraph Software

Charging for Missed Appointments
7/25/2011 11:47:00 AM
Good Business and Good PT are Fully Compatible
 
I would like to share a discussion that occurred with a MediGraph subscriber regarding charging a patient for a mixed appointment.
 
Last week I received a call from a subscriber wishing to discuss the merits of charging  patients for missed appointments.  The therapist, who was in favor of charging for missed appointments, was in disagreement with his front office.  I told this subscriber, "You should charge for the missed appointment if you never want to see the patient again."   Allow me to explain.
 
Creating good will among our patients is a vital component to building a successful PT practice.   In our PT group we have received many referrals from former patients that were pleased with our facilitiy.   Also, we have had many referrals of patients that were unsatisfied with treatment from other PT facilities.    Were these patients that switched from other facilities to our office dissatisfied with their intervention?  Usually not.  Most patients do not know the difference between good care and poor care.  Those patients that transferred to our office from other facilities switched because they did not like how they were treated as people. 
 
My perspective in these matters is based upon successful business practices.   In addition to viewing injured people as patients, I always saw patients as customers.   In many PT circles, we have viewed elevating our profession standards to be in conflict with business.  This mistaken belief is often promulgated by academic types that have never operated a successful physical therapy office.   Charging for a missed appointment is an example of such backward thinking. 
 
Punishing the patient for a missed office visit is a poor practice that dismisses the therapists' complicity in this matter.  Our offices were proactive in this situation.  We called our patients a day in advance to remind them of their appointment.  Many patient visits were saved by this task.  Patients that potentially would have missed an appointment would reschedule in advance.  This approach also prevents the "Bad Will" that can occur when attempting to collect a penalty fee for a missed appointment.
 
Today, the task of calling patients in advance has been eliminated for MediGraph subscribers.  The MediGraph Appointment Manager calls the patient, sends them an email and a text message reminding them of their next appointment.  This feature saves time, money, and avoids the conflicts that can occur with missed appointments.     
 
Be well,
Tom Kane, PT