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Nov 30, 2010

Proposed Law: Skipping Doctors Appointments Will Cost Money

A new law proposed by MK Yitzchak Cohen (Shas) says anybody who makes an appointment for a doctor at their kupat cholim and skips the appointment, for whatever reason, would have to pay a 10 NIS fine. The law passed it's first reading yesterday.

It seems to me that the doctors running late is a far greater problem than people skipping appointments. I was at the doctors office recently with a child, and while the doctor we were waiting to see was only running about 20 minutes late, the doctor in the office across form us had a long line out his door, as he was running an hour and half behind schedule.

I can see people getting up and deciding not to wait any longer, if it took that long to get in. And then, if the new law passes, they would have to pay a fine for leaving!

If they pass an additional law to go along with it saying that the kupa will be fined, or the doctor will be fined, for running late by more than [insert what is considered a reasonable amount of time here - I'd say 7 minutes], then I think it would be ok.

I don't know how big of a problem it is - perhaps, because it is free, people make multiple appointments and then show up at the most convenient one. The wait for an appointment for a specialist can be very long - you often have to make an appointment for a visit months in advance. So perhaps people are making multiple appointments.

Regardless, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Liztman says he is going to fight against it and get the law rejected. Litzman said it does not make sense the Knesset would pass a law that harms the public, and especially the weaker sectors of society.


  1. While it might be fun to bash doctors, please be fair by stating that the reason doctors usually run late is because patients require more time than previously thought. Any patient with a semi-serious problem cannot be seen in the allotted 10 minutes KH gives the doctors, so doctors spend more time with the patient in order to give better medical care. Sometimes doctors show up late as well - but that is generally due to them running late at their previous clinic or at the hospital in which they work as well.

    It would also be fair to note that הר"י - the Israeli Medical Association is against this law.

  2. I was not aware the IMA is against it.

    Yes, the doctor is usually runnign late because patients take longer than expected, along with the fact that doctors always take patients without appointments in between the pateints with the appointments.

    To that I say it is not like it is unexpected. if it happens every single day then they should allot more than 8 minutes (or whatever the exact number is) to each appointment, so it can be scheduled better. And dont let in patients without appointments until the end of the day, besides for cases that are emergencies (determining what is an emergency can be another discussion).

  3. BS"D

    In America, doctors charge much more than that price for a missed appointment.

    But if I see that the line is too long, then I simply tell the receptionist that I need to leave and schedule a different appointment instead (and she schedules me for an appointment on a different day).

    Since I told her that I was leaving, I don't get charged (because it's no longer considered a missed appointment).

    - Mordechai

  4. Yoni R: Heeellllooooo!

    There's another reason why doctors run late - because patients don't show up on time and that throws the whole day into a backlog.

    As for charging for missed appointments, there's a benefit as well. As some of you wrote, people might make 3 appointments, then cancel 2. For those 2 canceled ones, people were turned away when they tried to make an appointment! What a bummer it would be if I was sick and my doctor had no appointments available, but then it turned out that some of his appointments were no-shows. He would have been able to see me after all. So this fine for skipping an appointment discourages that practice, and makes more appointments available to everyone else.

    And as Mordechai wrote, there's a difference between a no-show and someone who shows up but then decides not to wait any longer. This person acted in good faith and came for his appointment. Not like the person who schedules one and then simply ditches it!

  5. Many of doctors here at the Macabbi clinic in Ariel arrive late to begin with, literally every day.

    The first appointment is at 8, they show up at 8:10 or 8:15, get their coffee, THEN sit down to boot up the computer. Then they're inundated with paperwork from the nurses and/or reception and of course you've got half a dozen 'emergency' appointments that get priority, even though I've already been waiting an hour.


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