28 answers

Appointment Cancellation Fee - What Happened

We missed our pediatrician's appointment. Happened for the first time in my life. We realized two hours later what happened and tried to reschedule to no avail.

Now we can't get an appointment for my newborn's well baby visit for two months (can't wait that long) and in addition we got charged a $50 fee. This is a good doctor who cares for both of our children and we'd hate to leave him but we feel that due to our relationship not mentioning lots of money he's made of our kids’ colds and tummy aches, that bill is uncalled for.
Has this happened to any of you and what's your advice?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Everyone - thanks for your input. I didn't expect so many responses and I was touched. What happened was: My husband, who is a much nicer person than I, called and asked the office manager to waive the fee since there was no "warning". He suggested that the fee information is posted for everyone to see. It is now - I checked.

Regarding a well baby appointment - again, my husband called again and again and finally got an appointment with another doctor, whom we don't really like, but what the heck. We are still not entirely comfortable with what happened and are considering changing doctors. It is such a hassle and with both of us working - very difficult. Hard to find a pediatrician who has evening/weekend hours. Any recommendations around Sparta, NJ?
Thanks so much to all the moms!

Featured Answers

Find another doctor! If you called saying you were running late they should of never charged you.

M. Santoro

I have to say I don't know of any doctor that doesn't have a fee for missing and appointment. I am worried that they would make you wait so long for a newborn visit. I would make it clear that if they don't see the baby quickly then you will have to go to another doctor.

I agree with Jeanmarie. Speak with the Doctor and find out if anything can be done. He may be willing to stay at the end or beginning of his day to accomodate you. If not, start asking around for another Doctor you can trust, even if it's just for the visit you need, and then keep the appt.s with the Doctor you like, going forward.

More Answers

Hi A.,

I work for a doctor who also charges a $50 fee for missed or late cancellations. The doctor has been known to waive the fee if the patient protests (nicely of course but firm). Have you tried asking to speak with the doctor to explain what happened? If you tell him/her what you told us, I think that they may consider waiving it. (Just don't expect it to happen ever again.) Doctors do not want to lose good business!

1 mom found this helpful

A pediatrician and his/her staff should #1 think of the well being of the patients, especially newborns. I think it is dangerous that the office is willing to jeopardize the well being of a newborn because of an honest error. All doctors have emergency appointment time in their schedule and an office that truly has you and your baby's best interest at heart would use that time to accomodate you.

Sure, if it is their policy to charge $50 for a missed appointment, then you need to accept that and pay. Many offices do have similar policies. However it is so irresponsible and incredibly unbelievable for them not to see your baby any sooner than 2 months.

Your first priority should be to get your baby to a doctor. Be it the one who blew you off or a new one that has some human compassion and genuinely cares about their patients. If you do get to see your regular dr. immediately (do not wait ant longer than a few days) I would also ask the staff to have your children's record's ready for you to take with you because you should leave that office. Don't walk, run! That is your second priority, find a new pediatrician. There are so many more out there better than this.

The only thing I could imagine that would make me stay would be if the dr. was not involved in this in any way and it was an honest mistake on the staff's part. That dr. should then offer you a personal apology and assure you that the staff has been reprimanded. Not for charging you, but refusing to see your baby in a timely manner.

I could not fathom my pediatrician's office ever treating any patient like that ever.

I do hope this works out for you. And congratulations on your new baby!


1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried to talk to the doctor or office manager personally? Most doctors that I have been to post their rules about 'no call/no shows" in their offices, but usually only bill repeat offenders. Often the administrative staff can get spiteful and give patients a hard time. The doctors sometimes don't know how unreasonable they are being. Talk to the doctor and if he won't make an exception for a first offense, then you should change pediatricians. I doubt your doctor would not want to lose your children as a patients.

Wish you all the best.

1 mom found this helpful

Find a new Pediatrician! The idea of not having "time" to see your newborn, and delay his/her care for two months!! That's bordering on negligence. What about if you needed to speak to him ... would he have "time" to take your call?

I'm not even considering the missed appointment fee.. that's just an inconvenient annoyance. Sometimes the office staff is so officious and obnoxious that they don't listen.( It's happened to me with my own doctor.)

Do they realize when they talk to you that you're talking about a newborn baby, and not a 12 yr old?

Please find another doctor. If you live in the Rockland County area,I have a recommendation for you!!!

If this is the first time you have missed an appointment and you have an established good reputation I would appeal this charge. Call up and talk. And regarding the well child visit for an infant, mention how important it is to keep infants on their vaccination schedule, etc. and given your good record in the past....
It is worth a try. If you are like me, I would hate to do it, but I would really hate getting my newborn off the regular schedule, including vaccinations, etc... The visits are so frequent with infants.
Basically grovel some but get the baby in. Because if you go to another doctor's office, you will have the same kind of wait.
Is this a group? Maybe you can see a different doctor sooner and then go back to your doctor for subsequesnt visits??
I hate this fee thing....I understand there are abusers, but if you have a good record, and good about paying bills, can they not understand you work and have a newborn???
I work with someone who has called and complained about remaining copays of $50 after surgery. And it's not like she cannot afford it...and she usually gets off....
It's worth a try....
Good luck!

go find another ped if they cant get you in for 2 months, thats just ridiculous. I work in healthcare and we have a fee for no shows but we waive it all the time. Call the office manager and/or doctor and ask them to waive it, you are entitled to forget with a newborn!! I drive from Sussex county to Kinnelon to my pediatrician because she is awesome and can fit me in no matter what anytime. I can give you her name if you want. She is sooo great with my son! Good luck. D.

Any mom of a two year old and newborn is bound to forget a few things everyday and the doctor and offica should be aware of that. If this is your first time missing an appointment they should out of curtosy for a mistake waive the fee but just be aware it is in there policy to do so and make sure you arent late or miss another appointment without calling ahead of time.

I feel for you and it has happened to me. You need to get on the phone and speak to someone who has authority to take the fee off and dont get off that phone untill it does.

if they refuse then you need to make the descion wether you want to stay with a doctor who doesnt work with the patients.

hope this helps. good luck!

I have to say I don't know of any doctor that doesn't have a fee for missing and appointment. I am worried that they would make you wait so long for a newborn visit. I would make it clear that if they don't see the baby quickly then you will have to go to another doctor.

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