‘No-show’ appointments cost DDEAMC $3M
Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center typically books almost a half million health care appointments each year. Last year more than 28,000 appointments were missed, skipped or patients simply didn’t show up to keep them, Toni Cosby, chief, Clinical Business Operations in the hospital’s Division of Managed Care, said.
“No-shows” cost DDEAMC $108 per appointment, or about $3 million in earnings.
“We could definitely have used those dollars to hire more providers or purchase new equipment to better serve our beneficiaries,” Cosby said. “We experience the most ‘no shows’ in clinical areas that treat the most patients: Family Medicine, Behavioral Health and Physical Therapy.”
Physical Therapy appointments have a large number of “no-shows” because patients begin to feel better after a few treatments, and then stop coming to their originally scheduled appointments.
“All missed appointments count against DDEAMC’s bottom line but the cost is more than monetary,” she said. “Each missed appointment means someone else loses an opportunity to have an appointment. The result is that providers and clinic staff lose valuable patient-provider time.”
DDEAMC patients receive a reminder call 48 hours prior to their assigned appointment and, at that time, have the opportunity to cancel. The majority of cancelled appointments are rescheduled, and unlike “no-shows,” do not count against the bottom line.
“Our mission is to ‘provide consistent, high quality, comprehensive, accessible and safe health care while promoting wellness in our community,’” Col. Michael A. Weber, DDEAMC’s commanding officer, said. “But we are still financially accountable to the American taxpayer.”
Sometimes last-minute conflicts do arise but it’s always best to contact the clinic directly, visit www.tricareonline.com or call 1-706-787-7300.
“When you re-schedule an appointment rather than just skip it,” Weber said, “you make appointments available for your friends, family members and other service members, and you help EAMC uphold its commitment to providing Five-Star Health Care.”