The California Medical Association (CMA) often receives questions from members as to appropriate billing policy when a patient repeatedly “no-shows” or misses a scheduled appointment. What you may not know is that unless a physician has entered into a contract with a payor that prohibits such charges, a physician may charge a patient when he or she misses an appointment or does not cancel in adequate time to allow another patient to fill the appointment slot – if advance notice of such a billing policy is given. Specific billing rules may also apply with regard to certain payors (e.g., Medi-Cal and Medicare).
For more information about your rights when it comes to billing patients for missed appointments, see CMA medical-legal document #0110, “Billing Patients.”
This document includes a detailed discussion about noncovered services, discounts for the uninsured, and discounts for prompt payment and stresses the importance of receiving and maintaining accurate patient financial information. It also contains a sample patient financial responsibility form.
Medical-legal document #0110, “Billing Patients,” as well as the rest of the CMA medical-legal library (formerly CMA On-Call), is available free to members at CMA’s online resource library. Nonmembers can purchase medical-legal documents for $2 per page.