Missed appointments cost clinic more than $600,000

  • Published
  • By Maj. Lisa Perry
  • 90th Medical Operations Squadron
Patients who fail to show up for scheduled appointments are costing the 90th Medical Group hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Last year our military treatment facility had a total of 2,278 missed medical appointments. At a cost of $264 per appointment, that adds up to more than $600,000!

While "no shows" aren't uncommon in civilian or military healthcare systems, the cost of them in the face of shrinking resources has leadership more concerned than ever. In addition to the tangible financial loss of provider and staff services, overhead expenses are the second and third order consequences. For every missed appointment, there are three appointments lost - the actual missed appointment, the one which could have been filled, and the future appointment the patient who no-showed will eventually make again.

As we roll into cold and flu season, the 90th MDG is hoping to improve patient access to medical care by reducing the number of missed appointments. Patients receive an automated appointment reminder phone call (to the phone number registered with TRICARE and verified at the time the appointment is booked) 24 hours prior to their appointment. This is the time to change or cancel an appointment if necessary. Cancelling an appointment within 24 hours allows the clinic ample opportunity to rebook the appointment. To change or cancel a scheduled appointment, call the main appointment line at 773-3461 or visit TRICARE Online at www.tricare.mil.