Health & Safety

January 10, 2014

The importance of appointment accountability

Medical appointments are critical to the continued performance of Soldiers at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin. The staff members of our medical facilities work hard to provide medical attention to Soldiers and family members, so it is extremely important to ensure medical appointments are kept.

There are many reasons why maintaining accountability for medical appointments is so important. First, the staff members of medical facilities have a duty to provide medical attention to their clients. As stated in the Weed Army Community Hospital Mission Statement, their mission is “To provide synchronized command and control, resource allocation, and oversight to ensure a healthy military community and ready adaptive force.”

When someone makes an appointment, the medical team dedicates their time, staff, and resources to make sure the situation is handled. However, when someone doesn’t attend their appointment without giving them a notice of absence, the team becomes unable to accomplish their mission. Instead of providing a needed service, they are forced to waste valuable time that could have been dedicated to someone on a wait list. As Soldiers in the Army we have a duty to look out for our brothers and sisters, and part of that is to not burden the appointment system by failing to show up for scheduled medical care.

Second, when you make an appointment that appointment is considered your place of duty. The NTC policy letter 20, ‘Medical and Dental Late and No Show Policy,’ dated, Sept. 23, 2013, states: “The Soldier’s place of duty is at the appropriate medical or dental facility at the appointed time for his/her appointment.” Failure to be at your place of duty could result in disciplinary action under Article 86, Uniform Code of Military Justice (absence without leave).

There are many ways for a Soldier to maintain accountability for appointments. The first and most effective way is to utilize the chain of command. In fact, NTC policy letter 20 states that, “Soldiers must inform their supervisor when they schedule a routine or specialty appointment.” Informing your chain of command is extremely important, because it provides situational awareness to supervisors, who can make sure you attend your appointments and are not late. Additionally, you should always write down the times and dates of your appointments and store it somewhere where you will be constantly reminded of it. For example, a refrigerator door or notes on a desktop are excellent reminders. Setting phone reminders is also a great way to keep track of your appointments. Finally, you could ask one of your family members or battle buddies to remind you.

Ultimately, missing medical and dental appointments can be detrimental to the mission of our local facilities as well as the readiness of our Army. That is why it is so important to maintain accountability for appointments.




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