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Missed appointments hurt the mission

Airman 1st Class Stephanie Snyder, 66th Medical Squadron medical technician, calls a patient for a scheduled appointment at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Feb. 13. Patients can schedule, reschedule and cancel appointments at the clinic by calling 781-225-6789, and should notify the clinic as soon as possible to coordinate cancellations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Russell)

Airman 1st Class Stephanie Snyder, 66th Medical Squadron medical technician, calls a patient for a scheduled appointment at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Feb. 13. Patients can schedule, reschedule and cancel appointments at the clinic by calling 781-225-6789, and should notify the clinic as soon as possible to coordinate cancellations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Russell)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Officials from the 66th Medical Squadron have reported that the numbers of missed scheduled appointments are on the rise.

With more than 300 “no-shows” on the books since November, leaders are urging clinic patients to consider the impact that missed appointments have on the community and overall mission.

“Every missed appointment is a slot that could have been used by someone who really needed it, like a sick child fighting a cold, or a retiree needing follow-up testing,” said Mark Jenner, 66 MDS group practice manager.

The no-show appointments negatively affect the clinic’s access to care standards, the community’s health, and ultimately the base’s readiness mission, explained Jenner, who noted that the cost of a missed appointment averages $350.

“It’s a huge waste of resources,” he said.

Additionally, clinic officials notify commanders and first sergeants when a member is a no-show.

Patients who schedule their appointments through the clinic’s phone line will receive an automated phone call reminding them of their time-slot prior to the appointment, said Jenner. Those who schedule through Tricare online will receive text and email notifications.

The automated call, text and email notifications all include an option to cancel or reschedule an appointment, said Jenner.

“Members should notify us as soon as possible if they know they won’t be able to make it,” he said. “Even if it’s the day of, we can reopen that time for others.”

Patients can schedule, reschedule and cancel appointments at the clinic by calling 781-225-6789, and should notify the clinic as soon as possible to coordinate cancellations. Additional information is available at www.hanscom.af.mil/Units/66th-Medical-Squadron.

“Loss of revenue aside, we hope our members will keep their overall impact in mind,” said Jenner.