First, read Charles Curie's blog. He has artfully described the gravity of the situation as we sit at the crossroads of behavioral health policy. For my part, I've taken advantage of the White House's web site and offered my two cents about a situation that surely costs the healthcare system billions each year. The majority of the clients served by our provider organization are Medicaid recipients.
Over 40% of this population 'no-show's' (fails to keep appointments, and also fails to notify us of cancellations). From my discussions with colleagues, this phenomenon isn't unique to Indiana.
A few years ago, we imposed a modest fee for no-show's, but were quickly reminded that such a fee could not be imposed on a Medicaid recipient. So we had to 'stop before we started.' The cost to our organization alone is about $1m. per year. Imagine the fiscal impact when all Medicaid providers throughout the country are taken into consideration.
With resources so slim these days, it is unconscionable for providers to be sitting on their hands due to no-show's when their organizations have long lists of people waiting to be seen. It may sound like a small thing to suggest to CSM that they re-think their policy about fees, but it is incumbent on all of us to offer solutions. We might as well go that route, for the prospects of a behavioral health bailout are slim to none!