Missed appointments bog system
June 19, 2014
FORT LEE, Va. (June 19, 2014) -- It's probably happened to all of us -- you get a slight injury or decide to finally talk to someone about that nagging health concern, so you call and make an appointment to see your primary care manager at Kenner Army Health Clinic.
You get an appointment within a week. Two days prior, you receive a phone call reminding you of the scheduled visit. You jot it down on your calendar and continue taking care of kids, laundry, work, etc.
A few more days pass, and you look down at your calendar while eating lunch. "Uh-oh"… You had a 10:30 appointment that day, and you have missed it. You are now officially a "no-show."
A no-show occurs when a patient misses or is late to an appointment without canceling or rescheduling.
When that happens, it also prevents another patient from using that appointment slot. When an appointment is missed, the space is not always filled with the next appointment; sometimes, the time slot may just go unused.
Missed appointments also can result in impaired continuity of care and possibly continued or unaddressed health problems.
Understanding things happen outside of our patients' control, KAHC is working to improve the no-show rate across the Northern Regional Medical Command and in our clinics.
Soldiers and family members who miss appointments cost the Army time, resources and money. NRMC has calculated that each missed appointment costs the Army an average of between $80 - $100 in prospective earnings. With more than 66,000 no-shows in the seven NRMC medical facilities across the region last year, this cost the Army more than $4.66 million, and greatly impacted our ability to provide timely, cost-efficient care.
"We understand things come up that may prevent our patients from making their appointment, whether it is a schedule change or that they are just feeling better," said Col. Thomas S. Bundt, KAHC commander. "But what we are working to improve is the number of patients who remember to actually cancel the appointment they aren't going to make, thereby opening up that slot for another patient who does need it."
There are several ways to cancel an appointment. You can call the KAHC appointment line at 1-866-LEE-KAHC or 1-866-533-5242. In addition, TRICAREOnline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at www.tricareonline.com. Or, when you receive the automated appointment reminder phone call prior to your appointment, just listen to the prompts and push to cancel.
"We appreciate our patients' consideration as we work to continuously improve access to care for our beneficiaries," Bundt said. "Ensuring you do your part in cancelling an unwanted appointment allows us to open that slot for someone else, and also prevents us from losing the revenue we rely on to continue providing world-class service to our Soldiers, family members and retirees."