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According to Sondra Brown, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs, rate of No Shows for military treatment facility appointments are at an average of 5.78% and have reached as high as 9.01%. Those kinds of numbers are a 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.
Every time you make an appointment, a medical, or otherwise qualified personnel, is tasked out to the time slot in which you made your appointment.
If you were to not 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 times 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 staff. Our goal is to support the organization that supports us by meeting all appointments.
If the cost in time and effort is not enough to persuade you away from becoming a No Show, you should take into account the cost of actual dollars. Capt. 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 Capt.
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 your pocket. This loss of productivity causes the demand for health care to be underestimated, affecting resource allocation, further hurting the medical facilities.
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. If your appointment was for something that would speed up your healing process from an injury, you are also getting weaker as you are not able to exercise the problem area. Soldiers are the centerpiece of Army combat formations. Medical and dental readiness are important factors enabling Soldiers to function effectively on the modern battlefield.
Army medicine enables Soldiers to remain in the fight and maximizes the ability of the Army to retain trained and experienced Soldiers if they become ill or injured. Decreased mobilization time lines reduce the time available for medical and dental screening before deployment. Therefore, Commanders must have tools to monitor medical and dental readiness along with a robust, responsive medical system that can provide required care quickly. When you miss your appointments you are not allowing the Commanders to properly use their tools and are not receiving proper medical care.
Failing to report is taken very seriously in the army. It violates article 86 of the UCMJ. Article 86 clearly defines failure to report as any member of the armed forces who, without authority fails to go to his appointed place of duty at the time prescribed. When you make an appointment, this is your place of duty. Failing to show up for the appointment is therefore failing to go to your place of duty and is punishable under UCMJ action. UCMJ action should not be taken lightly under any circumstances, especially failing to report. This means that when you miss an appointment you are risking potential loss of rank, loss of pay, extra duty, or even eventual removal from the Army.
The acronym “LDRSHIP” represents the Army Values that all soldiers are expected to live by. L stands for Loyalty, which is to bear true faith and allegiance with your country, the Army, and your unit. When you fail to meet an appointment, you are willingly costing the army money and resources. This shows you are not supporting the army, therefor violating the Loyalty value. D stands for Duty, which is to fulfill your obligations. According to the UCMJ, as pointed out in the previous paragraphs, missing your appointments is failing to report to your place of duty. This is therefor violating the Duty value. R stands for Respect, which is to treat people the way they should be treated. When you miss an appointment, you are wasting a medical practitioner’s time.
Time is regarded as a valuable asset, and is thus not something that is actively encouraged to waste. If you are forcing someone to waste their assets, you are not treating them with the respect that they should be credited with, therefor violating the Respect value. S stands for Selfless Service, which is to put your country and the Army before yourself. As it was outlined in the previous value, you are wasting someone’s assets. Because they are working for the Army, you are, by extension, wasting the Army’s assets as well. You are therefor violating the Selfless Service value. H stands for Honor, which is to live up to all of the army values.
Because you are violating the other values, you are also violating the Honor value. I stands for Integrity, which is to do what is morally and legally right. Integrity requires you to not say or do anything that is deceiving. When you make an appointment, you are making a promise to be at said appointment. If you were to not show up, you are breaking the promise and are therefor violating the Integrity value. P stands for Personal Courage, which is to face any fear or adversity. If you miss an appointment you should have the courage to tell your first line supervisor. If you accomplish this, you may be viewed as a stronger individual and be let off with a lesser punishment. As you can clearly deduct, missing your appointments violates every single Army Value.
Missing your military treatment facility appointments is both detrimental to your unit and yourself. You also cost the Army money, resources, staff time and of course you violate all of the Army Values. When you make an appointment, it is your responsibility to make it to the appointment when you subscribed to be there. If you are not going to make it, you must make a point to cancel in a timely matter. If not, you are risking much more than a scolding from your first line supervisor, you are risking your career. Do not be part of the statistics. Do not miss your appointments.
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