Ever had trouble making an appointment when you or your family were sick? It turns out that in many cases there are more than enough appointments available.
The problem is too many patients fail to cancel their appointments ahead of time. They simply choose not to show up. This means patients who really need to see their provider can’t.
Patients who can’t keep their appointments should free up their time slot and let someone else have a chance to see that provider, says Lillian Goddard, Irwin Army Community Hospital (IACH) Access to Care manager.
“Soldiers, Family members, and retirees who miss appointments cost fellow beneficiaries an opportunity to receive care,” she adds.
In the month of September 1,355 patients missed their appointments, and a total of 14,702 patients missed appointments in Fiscal Year 2015 at IACH alone. Imagine if those appointments had been available for those who really needed them.
“When patients get frustrated that there are no appointments available, we get frustrated too,” Goddard said. “We get frustrated because we know we have a percentage of no-shows and we want to get patients seen.”
Goddard recommends that patients cancel unneeded appointments four hours before a primary care appointment or 24 hours before a specialty care appointment to allow others a chance to use that time.
There are several ways to cancel an appointment. TRICAREOnline.com offers patients a quick option that provides a text confirmation of the cancellation.
Patients also have the option of calling the 24-hour appointment cancellation line at 239-8428 or responding to the Patient Automated Reminder System. However, using the PARS system requires patients to remain on the call until the cancellation has been confirmed.
“Patients often end the call after the prompt to cancel the appointment and they are considered a no-show because it wasn’t confirmed,” Goddard said.
For more information on booking, canceling and receiving appointment reminders through e-mail or text online, visit www.tricareonline.com.