When a patient phones to make an initial appointment, he/she receives an explanation of our cancellation policy from my secretary. This cancellation policy applies to every appointment – initial consultation and follow up.
Two business days prior to the appointment, an SMS reminder, which cannot be replied to, is sent to the patient in the morning. Should the patient wish to cancel or reschedule, as long as they let the practice know by 5:00pm two business days prior, at the latest (same day as the SMS reminder), the patient is welcome to do so at no charge. Please note that as we are not open over the weekend, we cannot accept cancellations during this time.
Unfortunately, if the patient does need to cancel or reschedule their appointment either the day of, business day prior, or simply does not show up on the day, we do charge for the full appointment fee, and the patient would not be eligible for their Medicare rebate.
We would also strongly encourage patients to make a note of their upcoming appointments, and to not rely solely on the SMS reminder, as it is sent out as a courtesy to the mobile on file, and cannot account for things such as changed mobile numbers.
Our cancellation policy is necessary because large tracts of time are set aside for each appointment, and I prepare for every appointment in advance to ensure maximum benefit to my patients in the allotted time. Some of my colleagues have gone a step further and actually bill patients in advance, giving them their medicare rebate when (if) they come to the appointment.
Cancellation policies are necessary (unfortunately) and I adhere very strictly to mine.