Background: Access to dermatologists is low among Medicaid-insured patients. Higher clinic nonattendance among Medicaid-insured patients might affect provider decisions to accept these patients. Objective: To determine the effect of different scheduling policies on the attendance among children seen at a pediatric dermatology clinic. Methods: In this retrospective review, we compared nonattendance among children for 3 different scheduling policies implemented over 3 consecutive years. The scheduling policies used were a first-available open scheduling policy, a 2-week in advance scheduling policy, and a 4-week in advance scheduling policy. Subset analyses were performed by clinic location and insurance type. Results: The interval between scheduling and appointment date was directly related to nonattendance rates; rates were higher for Medicaid-insured than privately insured patients. Open scheduling was associated with a 37% nonattendance rate for Medicaid-insured patients and 18% nonattendance rate for privately insured patients. A 4-week in advance scheduling policy significantly decreased the nonattendance rate to 19% among Medicaid-insured and 7% among privately insured patients. A 2-week in advance policy further decreased the nonattendance rate to 11% among Medicaid-insured patients and 4% among privately insured patients. Limitations: This is a retrospective study, and same-day cancellations were not tracked. Conclusion: Decreasing the time interval between scheduling and appointment dates can significantly decrease nonattendance. This strategy might help dermatologists incorporate more Medicaid-insured patients into their practices.
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