My dad loves the word “bogus.” He always used it when I was little when I’m sure he really wanted to say BULLSHIT! Even though I’m 25, he still uses it frequently, like I can’t handle the cussing. I think it’s funny One of the many, many contexts in which I have heard him use the word is when it comes to fees. Bank fees, loan fees, store fees….most of them are totally bogus. Today I was reminded of another totally bogus fee in our modern society, so I decided to start a mini-series on this blog: Totally Bogus Fees.
Totally Bogus Fee #1 is the short notice cancellation fee at the doctor’s office. You know, how they charge you $25 if you cancel less than 24 hours in advance or don’t show up for your appointment? I get what they’re trying to. They’re trying to hold their patients accountable and discourage people from messing with their scheduling system. I get that. One of my number ONE pet peeves is people who waste my time. But I still thing this is a Totally Bogus Fee.
The basic principle – don’t waste the doctor’s time – is not what what’s bogus. What’s bogus is that I show up for my 5:45 doctor’s appointment at 5:40 and you keep me waiting until 6:35 to just get into the exam room (for the record, it wasn’t until 6:57 that the doctor walked in). So, I can’t cancel the appointment the afternoon of without incurring a fee, but you can keep me waiting as long as you damn well please? I completely understand that sometimes major medical issues come up with other patients and I have to wait. That’s the nature of healthcare. But charging me a fee for calling to cancel my appointment a few hours in advance when you keep me waiting every single time I come to see you is, well, totally bogus.
Also for the record, I think it’s completely legit to charge a fee for no-shows. I also think it’s totally legit to charge a fee for short-notice cancellations if you, the doctor, have a really good on-time record. But if you habitually keep patients waiting, just forget about the fees. Everyone else has a job and a family, too, and things come up.
In short, don’t let Totally Bogus Fees make you into a totally bogus doctor.