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An appointment missed by you is an appointment missed by two

By Capt. Dale Barrette | Naval Health Clinic Charleston Commanding Officer | Sept. 6, 2018

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —

Naval Health Clinic Charleston encourages patients to cancel appointments 24 hours in advance. An appointment missed by you is really missed by two.

When a patient misses or “no-shows” for a medical or dental appointment, it keeps another service member, family member, or other beneficiary from using that appointment slot for the care they need. This means it can also impact the medical and dental readiness of the military fighting force.

When a patient doesn’t cancel in time, or doesn’t show up, the provider can’t simply shift the rest of the day’s patients to fill that space. The time slot goes unused and is wasted for the provider, staff, and another patient who could have used the appointment.

When a patient doesn’t show up, it prevents another patient, who might have an urgent need, from being seen at that time.  So if patients are unable to get an appointment here at the clinic, they may seek care with a network provider.  That situation results in an estranged patient experience and unnecessary cost to taxpayers.

Although some cancellations are inevitable, in the private sector, providers will sometimes charge a fee (up to $50) for no-shows or cancellations made less than 24 hours in advance. While military treatment facilities don’t function this way, no-shows do have a negative impact. Without advance notice, staff are unable to rebook these unexpectedly available appointment slots, again at a significant cost to taxpayers.

We understand that things come up, and there may be times when patients are unable to make their scheduled appointment. If our patients call us as early as possible to cancel and reschedule appointments, those time slots can be made available for other patients who need to get care.

So, to cancel or reschedule, please do so at least 24 hours in advance. Go to www.TRICAREonline.com (available 24/7), or call the appointment line at 843-794-6221 available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you already have an appointment set and opt to create a new appointment online, you still must contact us to cancel your already-booked appointment. Creating a new appointment online DOES NOT cancel previous appointments. So please ensure that you cancel appointments you no longer want and to confirm your new appointments.

Remember, with enough advanced notice, giving up your slot gives another service member, family member, or other beneficiary a shot at getting the treatment they need.