The cost of a no-show

November 24, 2018

People get sick. We suffer from thousands of conditions. We sneeze, we cough, we get diabetes, we suffer from depression, we get cavities, we put on weight, we lose weight, and please don’t get me started on the man cold.

Thanks to modern medicine and with compliance to different medical regimens, we can manage, cure and avoid many health issues.

Unfortunately, there is something that frequently occurs which prevents people from fully accessing the magic of modern medicine. It is the patient no-show and it is my mortal enemy. Let me detail for you the true cost of not coming to your medical, dental, and behavioral health appointments.

The Financial Cost

So far in 2018, Health West has had roughly 8,000 patient no-shows, costing Health West a minimum of over a million dollars in lost revenue and production. This is some serious cheddar. This isn’t money that would line the pockets of our executive staff or buy administrators new Ferraris. This is money that would help you and your loved ones better access quality, affordable medical, dental, and behavioral health care.

This is money that could go to the creation of another health clinic. This is money that could go to getting additional highly specialized providers. This is money that would contribute to a stronger economy. This is Southeast Idaho money that would create more jobs, but is instead wasted.

The Personal Cost

The personal cost is to you. The cost is you missing a cancer diagnosis. The cost is you being sicker for longer and a decrease in your quality of life. The cost is your kids failing to receive timely immunizations thus making them extremely susceptible to dangerous and deadly illnesses and having to take them to the emergency room after hours because of easily preventable diseases. The cost is you sacrificing days or weeks of sickness for a 30-minute appointment that you have already scheduled. Ultimately, the cost is your health, happiness, and well-being.

The Inadvertent Cost

The inadvertent cost is other patients. Simply put, when you don’t attend your appointment, you have wasted an appointment slot. This slot was reserved for you and we are unable to call patients and get them in before that appointment slot expires and they then are stuck being sicker for longer. Roughly 175 patients of Health West are unable to be seen each week because of no-shows. Many of these patients end up visiting the emergency room rather than waiting for a next day appointment. This results in higher costs for something that could have been treated at Health West.

Tips for Making Your Appointments

Before becoming labeled as a “No-show Shamer,” I want you to know that I understand the difficulty of attending all appointments. There are weightier matters that occasionally come up and we need to handle them. It happens to the best of us. My plea is that this be the exception and not the rule.

If you find yourself consistently being inconsistent at attending your medical appointments, here are some tips:

• Schedule your appointment for a time that is convenient for you. Inconvenient times give you an excuse to miss. If you aren’t a morning person, don’t schedule an 8 a.m. appointment. Stay in bed, get that beauty sleep and we will hook you up with some amazing healthcare at 11 a.m.!

• Set an alarm, write yourself a note, or make a visual reminder. I literally forget all things in life unless I write them down.

• Ask your provider to send you automated phone calls or text messages as a reminder. Technology is amazing, and we can do this with the click of a mouse.

• If you can’t make it, call and cancel. We won’t get angry, we will just fill your spot with another patient who needs our help.

My Christmas Wish

I’m typing from my knees, begging you to come to your scheduled appointments. You will be helping yourself, other patients, Health West, and Southeast Idaho. If you keep your appointments, I will love you forever.

Come see us. We will give you amazing care and treat you regardless of your ability to pay.

Derrik Jones is a Pocatello native and has worked for Health West for over 4 years. He got his bachelor’s degree from BYU-Idaho and his master’s degree from Idaho State University.

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