Life happens, we get it. We don’t get riled about missed appointments. We do have a cancellation policy though, and we’re upfront about it. To quote from our patient waiver, which 100% of our patients are required to read and sign before receiving treatment:
“We are committed to keeping our prices as low as possible. We do not receive government grants or subsidies of any kind; we stay afloat solely on sliding-scale acupuncture treatments. Community acupuncture works because our patients treat the clinic like a shared resource that they really care about. If you miss an appointment with us, it impacts our operations and often means that someone else was unable to use the spot we’d reserved for you.
We ask for 24 hours notice if you need to cancel your appointment. There is a missed appointment fee of $20 for a new patient, and $10 for a returning patient. We recognize that emergencies happen, and are willing to consider those on an individual basis.“
This is a pretty standard ask. Many practitioners charge 100% of their fee for a no show or a late cancellation (and outside of community acupuncture, the fees are much more than $10-$20). You’re probably not thrilled about paying anything for a service you didn’t receive. But it isn’t a punitive measure, so please don’t take it personally.
As a small business, we cannot absorb the cost of every missed appointment or late cancellation. We prefer to keep the clinic open, sustainable, and as affordable as possible. We have only raised our prices once since 2013.
If you realise on the day of your appointment that you’re going to miss it, and you let us know a couple hours beforehand, then thank you for communicating as well as you could! It’s still a late cancellation.
If you realise on the day of your appointment that you can’t make it, and you reschedule for another day, it’s still a late cancellation.
If you totally forgot and you’re kicking yourself, if you got called into work and you’re bummed, if you didn’t give yourself enough time to get here and now you’re frazzled and disappointed, we empathise! But if you don’t show, it’s a missed appointment.
If you or someone you care for is injured or ill, we consider that to be an emergency, and we waive the fee. Same if your car broke down on the way here, or if it was snowing too heavily for you to travel safely.
Booking ahead doesn’t always work for everyone. If you end up having to make multiple late cancellations due to unavoidable circumstances, we may ask you to only do drop in appointments, or, just get in touch on the day you want an appointment to see if we have a spot for you. Again, that’s not a punitive move. It’s a taking-care-of-the-clinic move.
All of these boundaries are about taking care of the clinic, the people who work here, and the people who receive care here. As Rachel from Ottawa Community Acupuncture says (hi Rachel, we love you) “We have this policy to keep the focus on what really matters: if we know you aren’t coming then someone else can.”