JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- Operating at maximum efficiency has become a primary goal for every unit at Joint Base Langley-Eustis due to fiscal constraints.
Due to fiscal constraints, operating at maximum efficiency has become a primary goal for every unit at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. While many units work internally to reach this goal, U.S. Air Force Hospital Langley and McDonald Army Health Center need help from their patients to ensure every dollar health care facilities spend goes towards the community's welfare by avoiding missed appointments. (Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin)
While many units work internally to reach this goal, U.S. Air Force Hospital Langley and McDonald Army Health Center need help from their patients to ensure every dollar health care facilities spend goes towards the community’s welfare by avoiding missed appointments.
“We have a saying here at MCAHC,” said U.S. Army Capt. Jose Sanfeliz, MCAHC clinical support division chief. “‘An appointment missed by you is an appointment missed by two.’ It means whenever someone misses their appointment, another person who was waiting for a slot could’ve been seen instead if the first patient had canceled the appointment.”
At MCAHC, each missed clinical appointment costs about $70 due to time lost and prep-time for the patient. With 1,066 no-shows in July alone, MCAHC needlessly spent $75,000, said Sanfeliz.
At USAF Hospital Langley, U.S. Air Force Maj. Andy Stewart, USAF Hospital Langley group practice manager, said Langley experiences similar numbers, and he explained how those numbers can be even larger.
“When we present our leadership with our funds lost to no-shows, they usually question why we have $675,000 to $1.1 million lost in a six-month period,” explained Stewart. “The reason behind the disparity comes from the surgeries we perform, and the possibility of treating a patient off the installation.”
Surgeries at Langley can cost up to five times more than a standard clinical appointment. When someone doesn’t show for a surgery appointment, the hospital wastes around $400 in time and preparation costs. Furthermore, missing any appointment usually results in the no-show rescheduling the appointment anyways, which forces the hospital to pay twice for one appointment, said Stewart.
MCAHC and Langley both have systems in place to prevent no-shows through rescheduling and cancellation.
“Having people arrive on time, or cancel if they absolutely have to, could save us around $1 million a year,” said Sanfeliz. “The appointment line is open every day, so unless it is a last-minute emergency, anyone can save money by simply rescheduling.”
Stewart and Sanfeliz both said cancelling or rescheduling in at least 24 hours could open up an appointment slot for another patient.
MCACH and USAF Hospital Langley both utilize the Hampton Roads Appointment Center for appointment scheduling, so patients looking to cancel or reschedule their appointments can call the appointment line. In addition, patients can call clinics directly to cancel an appointment.
In this time of fiscal responsibility, working together could mean the difference between breaking the budget and breaking even. Sanfeliz and Stewart said their patients have the ability to be that difference.
To cancel or reschedule an appointment, call the Hampton Roads Appointment Center at 1-866-645-458 Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on holidays and weekends.
Airman 1st Class Austin Harvill, 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs