My recent widowed mother moved into retirement home. Her Dr.sent her a bill for $50.00-states missed appointment She was not aware of this. I spoke to a receptionist who stated that was the policy. My mother did not make this appointment. They state they called and spoke to "someone" at the home. My mother states she never got that message. She has never missed an appointment in her life.!! I very well understand this may have happened due to the recent death of her husband things ar all so new. But I doubt it .I can not get past the receptionist to talk to the Dr. I live in another state therefore I can not just pop in.. What are her rights. She never acknowledged/confimed this appointment to this office.What are her rights here?

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I'm not sure she'll get by without paying this, but there needs to be better communication so that the retirement home can confirm messages of this nature. If your mother has her own phone, you may want to make sure she takes her own messages (if she is able). You are right, however, that after the death of her husband, she has a lot of stress, and she may have gotten the message and forgotten. It's probably time to pay this charge and work on not letting it happen again.
Take care,
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My husband uses a service that charges for appointments missed without 24-hour notice. When we began there I made it clear that Hubby has unreliable health and we often don't know until a few hours before whether he will be able to keep his appointment. They are very kind about it and waive the no-show charges.

If your mother's clinic won't budge for a women in a retirement home who has just lost her husband, I'd question how personalized the service is. Pay the fee -- it is not worth your effort to fight about it -- but keep a close eye on the kind of care she is getting there. I wouldn't change from a good doctor because of this kind of policy, but I'd sure keep an eye on things.

I'm sure that no-shows are a problem in some practices, and I understand the need to try to prevent them. Missed appointments can mean missed income. I'm not against the policy. I think enforcing it rigidly without regard to circumstances is a bit troubling.
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Do not pay this absurd fee. Write a polite business letter stating that no one of record received or confirmed an appointment with the doctor on that particular date.. Explain why you did not make this appointment, whatever the reason may be.
My lawyer writes letters on my behalf, but you can do it yourself. The last paragraph should read:
"I advance my file and await your return response."
If they do not respond, then let it go.
If another bill shows up thirty days later, call and ask that this amount be applied to the next visit.
If they continue to ignore you, and you find that this charge is on your credit report, then file a complaint wirth the Credit Reporting Agencies.
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From here on out I would speak with the retirement home so that they notify you of every Dr. appointment that mom has. Mom is going to need transportation service to make it to her appointments and I would like to know who is going to be coordinating this. Also, make sure that you are on all of moms consent forms for each doctor and if you have one- send them the durable power of attorney, health care surrogate and living will- that way you will have access to her condition, current meds and appointments.
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Talk with the Doc's nurse,
and maybe the billing department,
and explain the "legitimate extenuating circumstances".
Practitioners started charging for missed appointments years ago, due to some patients --repeatedly-- being "no-shows",
which dents the profit margin of any practice.
I can certainly see a need for that for certain patients, but for most, it is not appropriate.
There is usually "compassionate consideration to reverse a fee" like that, especially if the patients has no history of forgetting appointments,
AND she has sudden death in family, sudden illness in family,
or other life-changing events, such as moving to a nursing home!
ANY practitioner who insists on getting paid a "no-show" fee,
in light of the legitimate extenuating circumstances,
is unethical, and sets very poor industry precedent
[i.e., the more Practitioners do a thing, like "no-show fee", the more it becomes tacitly accepted within the industry at large].
[and one might bring this up if it applies to the practitioner],
while practitioners charge for no-shows, they never pay the patient if the practioner is a no-show!
That becomes a double standard, fed by industry "habit".
Personally, I think ALL patients who have been stiffed by a no-show practitioner, could send THEM a bill for time lost
--such as a per-hour fee for time lost from work while you tried to meet them for a scheduled appointment; if 2 people [a caregiver and the patient] were stiffed by a no-show practitioner, bill the practitioner for BOTH caregiver and patient inconvenience.
IF everyone did that, the incidence of "no-show" fees --charged to usually reliable patients--, would diminished more
No-show fees did florish for a time in the early 1990's, then incidence dropped when patients complained.
Most offices present new patients with a stern warning paper they must sign; but if challenged, most offices will verbally let you know that they will reverse that fee for those who have already established their reliability, or if someone has extenuating, unavoidable circumstances.
A new patient can sign that paper "under duress", or, write onto it their own addenda statement that there are some events that could prevent anyone getting to an appointment, for which they reasonably would expect NOT to get charged a no-show fee.
IF a Doc insists on charging a no-show fee even after advising them of the circumstances, it is past-due to find another Doc.
Because if there is no rational compassionate thinking about this, what else might the practitioner screw up and cover up?
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