Cancellation Policy for Patients in a Physical Therapy Private Practice

physical therapy private practice

Should you have one?

The answer is an astounding, YES!


Patients must give a minimum of 48 hours advance notice prior to canceling. Why? It gives us time to put someone else in the slot who needs it. Otherwise it’s considered a “Late Cancel” and there is a $30 fee. It costs you much more than $30 but the point of this is not to make money so much as it is to create a deterrent for patients to do the wrong thing.

Keep in mind we clearly notify patients of this policy in our…

  • New patient orientation video.  View at
  • Express registration form
  • Sign at checkin counter

Patients don’t mind paying when they violate this policy. In actuality, they like having a clean plate. It’s when they are surprised that they get upset. But so would I. Don’t put it in small print. Make sure it’s clear and apparent. We also recommend forgiving every patient once. That way it’s clear that they know of the policy.

If you make it easy for patients to do the wrong thing, they will–anyone will (we’re all human). Make it hard for them and watch your numbers get better.

Important disclaimer:

None of this matters if you don’t have a good relationship with your patients. Doing the other more important things will get you much further than policies and procedures. Make sure to:

  1. Provide solutions, not services.
  2. Train your receptionist to properly greet every person walking in through the door.
  3. Keep the value of each treatment session high. Create an experience for patients versus just mere treatments.

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James Ko

I believe... "It's not the strongest practices that survive and grow, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change." I'm a physical therapist, private practice owner, and founder of IndeFree Association. I like reading James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, enjoy golfing and playing guitar. I love playing with Mac and Cozy! For over 15 years, I've helped thousands of practices grow and succeed. This is my dedication.

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