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Frequently Asked Questions

Can an appointment type be changed once it is released for booking?

Answer: Yes, an appointment type can be changed after it has been released for booking. Based on the demand and availability of appointment slots, the appointment type can be changed after it has been released for booking to make better use of remaining unfilled slots.
How can MTFs facilitate the appointment process that takes place at the MCSC when coordination is required with an MTF regarding an appointment?

Answer: The MTF can facilitate the appointment process that takes place at the MCSC by ensuring that each clinic in their MTF has as one of their first phone directory options for the caller to select: If you are a provider or from the MCSC, press 1 now. Calls from the MCSC to coordinate an appointment need to be at the front of the queue so that the patient and MCSC schedulers are not kept on the line for extended periods of time. This practice needs to be consistent throughout all clinics so that the best possible customer service is provided to patients.
What is the importance of appointment standardization?

Answer: In order to communicate and coordinate appointments in a corporate environment among TRICARE MTFs and MCSCs, it is essential that all players in the appointment process use the same appointing tools and rules.
How and why should your MTF manage no-show rates?

Answer: No-show rates need to be known for every clinic. The average number of daily no-shows should be programmed as double-booked slots throughout the day's schedule. This makes the best use of appointment slots and medical resources. Some MTFs have had success in using automatic callback features that can be linked to the appointment system to remind patients of their appointment date and time. If no-show rates are managed effectively, then your MTF has gained additional access for patients who otherwise would not receive an available appointment.
How can incorporating nurse triage into the appointment process benefit your MTF?

Answer: Some MTFs have had success in managing appointment availability by having nurses who can assist the scheduler to determine the urgency or appointment type in questionable cases where a clinical assessment may be needed. This is referred to as managing appointment demand. In some cases, a scheduler needs to refer a patient to the triage nurse who can determine the nature of the call and decide the appropriate appointment type and time when the patient needs to be seen.
How can establishing a Nurse Advice Line assist the command with Access to Care?

Answer: Providing a Nurse Advice Line that patients can call for information or get minor medical direction over the phone saves time and resources, and increases Access to Care.
How can provider-to-provider staff ratios increase Access to Care?

Answer: Access to Care is improved at the MTF when you ensure that your staffing ratio is in line with the number of providers that are required to manage the demand for access to your facility. Commanders must evaluate ambulatory workload to ensure the clinics are staffed with the proper ratio of support staff and providers. If workload and staffing are not in alignment with existing service workload and manpower yardsticks, then the proper documentation needs to be submitted in a timely manner to your service representatives/commands that are responsible for evaluation of your staffing levels.