No-Show Fees: Should Your Dental Practice Use Them?

Posted by on Dec 15, 2021 9:00:00 AM

No-show fees are an occasionally controversial topic in private practice dentistry. While some people are in favor of them, others feel it’s unfair to charge a fee to someone for missing an appointment. 

If you’re not sure whether or not you want your practice to implement no-show fees, here are some questions you should ask yourself and your team: 

no show fees should your dental practice use them

How Much Time Does Your Practice Lose to No-Shows?

Your workday is often planned to the minute — you know when you’ll be seeing patients, when you’ll have time to take a break, and more. It is understandably  frustrating when someone doesn’t show up for their appointment. 

Depending on the nature of the appointment, you can lose anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes when a patient doesn’t come to their appointment. Not only is your schedule affected, but you're also losing revenue. 

If you're noticing frequent no-shows in your practice, you're losing hours of valuable paid time. This is a sign you may want to implement a no-show fee, so you can keep a portion of the revenue you would have made from the appointment. 

Who is Responsible for No-Shows?

When considering a no-show fee, you’ll want to think about who is responsible for these incidents. 

If you have patients who frequently make appointments and don’t show up to them, you’ll want to note this pattern to your staff. If this issue persists with certain patients, it may be time to consider implementing a no-show fee and informing them about this change. 

if a patient no-shows for the first time, you may want to check in with them. It could have been an emergency or something completely out of their control. With this in mind, you may want to have a no-show policy that shows grace for emergencies. 

After you consider these situations, you’ll be able to create a no-show policy that’s right for your dental practice. 

Should You "Fire" Patients?

It may have been rare to do in the past, but it’s becoming increasingly common for dentists to “fire” patients for a number of reasons, including repetitive no-shows. When you do this, you tell that patient that you won't be seeing them for appointments anymore. 

There are some dental practices that fire patients if those patients miss three appointments. That doesn't include patients who call well in advance to cancel, move an appointment, or address an unexpected situation. 

A no-show policy with three chances allows for emergency or “life happens” situations, while ensuring patients still know they are expected to come to their appointments.

If you don't want to fire a patient but still want to make sure they know you're serious about it being a possibility, it might be time to have a conversation with them and implement a no-show charge to let your patients know you take their appointments seriously. 

Looking for More Ideas to Grow Your Patient List? 

With a strong, growing patient list, you'll continue to manage your schedule and expenses to successfully move your practice forward.  

If you’re not sure where to get started, download our free guide to learn how to develop and target your ideal patient type, earn new patient referrals, and engage with your community. 

Learn More about Growing Your Patient List


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