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Missed Dental Appointment in the Army

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On Sep. 04, 2018, I – SPC. Bolante – failed to make to my Dental appointment. Why is it important to attend and be on time to scheduled appointments, proper cancellation procedures and how much a missed appointment costs. Missing appointment is not only a big deal to me but also a big problem in the Army.

To me, I have never missed any of my appointments since I joined the Army. That was my first time and I felt shame about that. It wasn’t fail with a purpose that I wanted to miss mine. I was kept calling to the dental appointment line many times since that morning to check up on my schedule but the system was down after the Labor holiday and they could not help me to track my appointment. But on top of my mind, I knew for sure that I had appointment with them soon. As a soldier, your responsibility to keep all your accountability at all times. This ensures that the Army mission will be completed and that soldier will remain prepared at all times. I just got promotable status and this occurred mistake just looked bad on me when I try to be an NCO one day. Being an NCO, I am not only take care of myself, I have to look after for my other soldiers and how I am able to do it? And on top of that, being an NCO you have to be an example for your soldiers. You can’t become a good leader if you can’t finish your own task or fail your mission. When you fail to make an appointment, you are probably missing out on required medical attention that is needed to stay healthy and active. If you had made an appointment that was required for your readiness status, you could possibly be setting yourself up for missing deploying with your unit. Medical and dental readiness are important factors enabling Soldiers to function effectively on the battlefield. And this is one of the most importance tasks for out MEDDAC, Fort Carson unit which you can be able to see the readiness flier posted around Evans Army Community Hospital, EACH’s web page and also the troop commander’s speech. Every time you make an appointment, a medical provider, medical staffs, medical equipment ... is tasked out to the time slot in which you made your appointment. If you were not to show up, you would be wasting that qualified individual’s time. This time could be used for a variety of useful tasks that might otherwise be overlooked. They will be waiting to see if you are running late, and when they finally decide that you are not going to show up, they will have wasted that whole time slot. Also, if you are using that time slot, it means that other soldiers cannot make an appointment at that same moment. This means, longer wait time when anybody wants to use a medical facility. Soldiers could end up waiting months just for a one hour dental appointment. Not only that, missing an appointment interrupts the whole process and creates unnecessary additional work for schedulers, providers, and staffs. And even you try to reschedule your appointment, a chance to see your same provider will be unsure. It might be effect to your whole treatment by interrupting or transferring to other provider.

On a daily basis in the Army, thousands of soldiers are seen at appointments varying anywhere from emergency, daily surgery to seeing primary providers. Appointments can be located anywhere on or off post depending on the type of appointments or preference of the soldiers. It is every soldiers’ rights to choose where they would like to receive healthcare services. The Army spends BILLIONs of dollars on medical supplies, medications, the latest and newest high tech equipment, the healthcare facilities, civilian’s services, healthcare providers, etc. When solider misses an appointment, the Army’s money is then wasted. Money that could have been invested on something such as new weapons, equipment, deployments, vehicles and so on. Of all the complications of military funding due to budget cuts, missing an appointment should not factor into it at all. Budget cuts have influenced the Chain of Command and their decisions on requiring soldiers to pay out of pocket for their missed appointment.

According to Sondra Brown, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs, rate of No Show for Military treatment facility appointments are at the average of 5.78% and have reached as high as 9.01%. Those kinds of numbers are very shocking wake up from an otherwise peaceful appointment making process. If you take into account the amount of appointments being made every day, the nearly 6% missed ones really start to add up. Soldiers have access to a variety of professional care and guidance and are free to make appointments for these services. When an appointment is made, it is the soldier’s responsibility to either cancel the appointment in a timely manner or show up for these obligations. When you miss an appointment it costs the Army time, money, and it can deprecate your medical readiness. Above all, missing appointments is a direct violation of the Army Values. If the cost in time and effort is not enough to persuade you away from becoming No Show, you should take into account the cost of actual dollars. CPT. Ann Bobeck, commanding officer, Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms, claims that the hospital she works at suffers from missed appointments every month. She says it costs a whopping $58,762 every month. That adds up to $705,144 a year, from one hospital. According to Tricare, there are 204 DoD hospitals in the United States. Assuming that the figure given by CPT. Ann Bobek is the average wasted from missed appointments across all of the DoD hospitals, the total cost to the DoD every year from No Shows is an astounding $143,849,376. Imagine that money going into something more productive. This money could have gone into medical equipment, staff training, or even directly into you paychecks. This loss of productivity causes the demand for health care to be underestimated, affecting resource allocation, further hurting the medical facilities. The recent rate of No Shows in MTF's are at an average of 5.78% and have reached as high as 9.01%. According to PRMC, a "No Show" is defined as an individual (Soldier, Retiree, Family Member) who misses or is late to an appointment without canceling or rescheduling, and can negatively affect patient care, future appointment setting and continuity of care. According to PRMC, "When a patient misses an appointment without cancelling, they also keep another patient from using that appointment slot".



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