Thursday, Jun. 30th 2022

Appointment Scheduling Fees and Late Fee Policy

In order to keep our appointments running smoothly and, in an attempt to try to fit in patients as quickly as possible, we are finding it necessary to institute scheduling fees for certain types of appointments.  We’re sure you get frustrated when your doctor’s office overbooks in anticipation of missed appointments and you end up waiting for long periods of time.  This acts as a penalty for showing up on time and we prefer to not overbook our schedule.  However, this means when a patient doesn’t show up, we end up with a hole in our schedule that could have been filled by patients we’ve had to put off due to a full appointment book. If our patient arrives late, that ends up throwing off our schedule as well and crowding later appointments. 


When we schedule a dental patient or our ninety-minute Comprehensive exams, we block off a significant portion of our schedule and in some cases, we also schedule extra staff.  If one of these patients then cancels with short notice or fails to arrive at all, we have possibly turned away up to five or six patients that could have filled that spot if we knew far enough in advance that they would not arrive. 


Because we’ve found that many local practices are turning away clients due to lack of staff or too busy a schedule, we have had an influx of new clients calling for appointments.  In order to try to help accommodate these calls while still serving our regular clients in a timely manner, these are the changes we are making. 


Late Arrivals: The first time a client arrives 10 or more minutes late, they will be informed of our policy and the file will be notated.  If they arrive a second time 10 or more minutes late, all their appointments scheduled after that will require a $20 scheduling fee to hold the appointment.  If they arrive on time, that fee will be applied to the day’s charges.  If they arrive 10 or more minutes late, that fee will be charged as a Late Fee in addition to that day’s charges. 


New Clients: When a new client calls to schedule an appointment, we will charge a scheduling fee to hold the appointment that is equal to our current physical exam fee.  If they arrive on time for their appointment that fee will be applied to that day’s visit.  If they fail to arrive or call to change or cancel the appointment with less than TWO FULL BUSINESS DAYS’ NOTICE, the fee will be forfeited.  Please note that messages left on our machine after we have closed for the night or weekend will be considered messages left on the next business day.   This is so that we have two working days to fill holes left in our schedule by cancellations.  We have found that new clients are more likely to cancel or no-show than our regular clients.  We already have a chronic no-show policy in place which is similar to this new client policy. 


Dental/surgical/sedation procedures:  When sedation or anesthesia is required for a procedure, we block off up to 2-3 hours in our morning schedule and occasionally schedule an extra staff member.  Short notice of cancellation, or patients who fail to show up, can cost us an entire morning of appointments plus extra payroll expense that is then unnecessary.  For that reason, for these procedures we will now charge a $100 scheduling fee when the appointment is made.   This will be applied to the procedure as long as the patient arrives as scheduled.  If cancellation or rescheduling is necessary, the fee will be forfeited unless the change is made no later than ONE FULL CALENDAR WEEK prior.  This will allow us time to make staffing changes and fill the time with other appointments. 


Comprehensive Examinations: Our Comprehensive Examinations are scheduled for 90 minutes in order to allow for complete Physical, Chinese, and Chiropractic examinations and a thorough discussion of a patient’s chronic or severe issues and forming/beginning the treatment plan.   Because this appointment block covers the time of 3-6 regular length appointments, we will now charge a $100 scheduling fee to hold this place in our schedule.  This fee will apply to the visit charges unless it is cancelled/rescheduled with less than TWO FULL BUSINESS DAYS’ NOTICE.  Please note that messages left on our machine after we have closed for the night or weekend will be considered messages left on the next business day.   Obviously, if the patient is a no-show, the fee will also be forfeited. 


Certainly, we wish such measures were not necessary. But in today’s veterinary climate of short-staffing, lack of enough veterinarians to fill open positions, and the overload of pandemic pets, all vet clinics are struggling to keep up and many are having to turn away patients or schedule them weeks later.  It is unfair to a suffering pet to not have access to a vet, and in that light, we want to make sure any openings in our schedule get filled with those waiting patients.   To accomplish this, we require enough notice of openings to have a chance to fill them, especially given our more remote location.  We trust that you understand our dilemma and will be sympathetic to our need for these new policies.  Thank you for your patronage of our practice!


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Whole Health Pet Center
18011 E St. Rte 58
Raymore, MO 64083

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