The cost of no-shows

March 30th, 2009 - Codapedia Editor
Categories:   Billing   Collections   Practice Management  
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What is a no show in your practice?

  • a huge relief: now we can get caught up
  • lost revenue you can never make up

Of course, the answer is both.  From a financial perspective, it is critical to keep no shows to a minimum.  It is a good idea to track no-shows, to see what they are costing your practice.  Start by entering a code for no-show visits.  Use a dummy code like "NOSHOW."

Next, after a month or two, run a report about how many visits the practice missed through no-shows.  Then, translate that into money.  You can estimate what a no-show visit costs you, but here are some quick and dirty estimates.

For primary care practices, with no ancillaries, a typical encounter nets $55-175

For medical  specialties with ancillaries, a typical encounter nets $175-300

For surgical specialties, a typical encounter and the lost surgical revenue related to it could be $600-1200.  How much revenue is lost for surgeons depends on the percentage of E/M services that convert to surgery, and the average cost of the surgery.  There will be significant variation by specialty and practice.

Calculate your estimated lost revenue by the number of no-show appointments in a month.  Is it large?  That is revenue you can never regain, just like lost time.

If the practice is losing money from no-show appointments, institute a reminder system.  Call the patient.  Use an automated phone calling system.  Send letters.  Do something to eliminate no-how appointments from the practice.

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