Can I be held legally responsible for a doctor's charge for a missed appointment?
I have been a patient of said doctor for at least 5 years and have not missed an appointment previously. I was not made aware of the missed appointment fee and was not advised of the fee when I made the appointment.
Legally, there should be some notice of fees or penalities that someone could incur for missing an appointment. However, if the doctor's office has some sort of notice of this policy, such as posted on a wall in the office or waiting room, or on any of their bills or paperwork, that would be enough to give you notice and hold you to it.
Even if you believe you don't owe the money, you may wish to consider whether it is worth it to potentially have to deal with collections efforts and having a bad debt reported to the credit rating agencies...there are some times a person is legally in the right, but practically, is better off paying. Assuming that the doctor will not give you a pass (have you tried talking to the doctor directly, and not just the staff?) based on your being a longstanding patient, you may wish to consider paying but looking for a different, more compassionate and reasonable physician.