Medical Corner: Appointment No Shows…They Cost Us All

  • Published
  • By Terri Shaefer
  • 71st Medical Group Quality Office
The 71st Medical Group recently began a study on no-shows for scheduled appointments within the clinic and came up with some figures that may shock you. For the three-month period from Jan. 1 to Mar. 31, there were more than 275 documented no-show appointments at the Vance Clinic. Moreover, there was an unidentifiable number of cancellations where patients called only moments before their scheduled appointment, saying they couldn't make it.

You might think, medical care in the military is free, so what's the problem?

A typical medical appointment costs around $300, including the doctor's, nurse's, and technician and administrative personnel's time, medical materiel, information technology personnel and resource management.

So, 275 no-shows is a loss of more than $82,000 in productivity in three short months. In flying terms, this equates to 111 T-1 Jayhawk sortie hours.

On the surface, that loss doesn't affect the patient...until they can't get an appointment in Primary Care, Pediatrics, Mental Health or Optometry, because no appointments are available. No-show appointments are lost opportunities for medical care that cannot be recovered.

Please attempt to cancel appointments at least 24 hours in advance, or when the automated service calls to remind you of your appointment. We do understand that "life happens" and that there are extenuating circumstances causing patients to cancel appointments. Cancelling appointments as early as possible will give the clinic an opportunity to fill these slots.

Contact the TRICARE office at 213-6343 if you have any questions about the appointment process.