No-shows hurt IACH, other patients
Story by: Tywanna Sparks
IACH PUBLIC AFFAIRS
An appointment missed by you, is an appointment missed by two.
It is important for beneficiaries to be on time for their scheduled appointment or cancel within 24 hours if unable to make it so that someone else may have that appointment.
A no-show is defined as an individual who misses an appointment without cancelling or rescheduling. Soldiers, Family members and retirees who miss appointments cost Irwin Army Community Hospital time, resources and money. Each missed appointment costs an average of $70 in prospective earnings, according to Western Regional Medical Command.
No-show rates are 6 percent at IACH. In the month of February there were a total of 1,008 no-shows at IACH, said Michelle Simmons, Access to Care manager. These no-shows result in wasted financial and staff resources as well as a missed opportunity to provide care to other patients.
"When patients get frustrated that there are no appointments available, we get frustrated, too," Simmons said. "We get frustrated because we know we have a percentage of no-shows and we want to get patients seen."
Showing up on time or cancelling in a timely manner benefits us all, Simmons explained. Providers are able to make the best use of their time and skills when patients show up to their appointments on time. Showing up and being on time also helps appointment clerks, physicians and additional hospital staff move through appointments in a timely manner.
It is very easy to cancel an appointment at IACH, she said. For cancellation, call the 24-hour appointment cancellation line at 785-239-8428; respond to the Patient Automated Reminder System, or use Tricare Online at www.tricareonline.com, Simmons said.
To make an appointment, call IACH's appointment line from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 785-239-DOCS (3627). Beneficiaries also can schedule an appointment by visiting Tricare Online 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.tricareonline.com.
For those who have not used Tricare Online before, they will need to establish a login name and password on their first visit by selecting the link on the right-hand side of the home page called "Register Now on TOL" and following the step-by-step instructions.
Additionally, registered users can schedule, view and cancel both primary care and select self-referral specialty appointments on behalf of themselves or for their authorized Family members, including adults who have granted access and minor children under 18 years of age, with the feature called TOL Booking Appointments for Minors, or TBAM.
Once they have scheduled their appointment, they may receive an automated reminder call up to two days before their appointment through the Patient Automated Reminder System. To get this reminder, their personal information, which includes a contact telephone number and current address, must be correct in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.
Patients also can opt for an appointment reminder via text, phone call or email when they schedule an appointment using Tricare Online.