Whatever policies you ultimately adopt, these need to be spelled out in great detail, and regularly reviewed and reiterated. And when something unforeseen, when something as simple as what happened in my office occurs, you must take steps to fix them immediately.
Not having firm, detailed policies on all these items creates great stress and profound underachievement in private practice.
This does not have to be an elaborate process either. Simply having a word document on your desktop that you can add to, or even just text messaging on your cell phone can go along way towards fine-tuning your policies. They need not be elaborate, but only clear.
If there are unique circumstances in your practice or community, make sure you spell these out too! For example, what happens during snowstorms? What about religious observances and your office hours?
The bottom line is, the more of these things you can think of in advance, the better off you will be.
And this is one of those seemingly little things that can propel you to enormous success in private practice.