355th Medical Group: Summer access to care

You may have noticed the decrease in medical appointment availability at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

The 355th Medical Group has been experiencing a significant provider manning shortage in recent months, decreasing the supply of our Primary Care Manager appointments.

The manpower shortage is due to permanent change of stations, separations, and hard to fill provider vacancies.  By July 2017, the clinic will have 42 percent of providers available in the Family Health Clinic.  The 355th MDG is actively pursuing resources to bridge the gaps and will work hard to achieve acceptable levels of staffing to resume normal operations.  This does not affect the Pediatrics clinic as they are fully staffed. 

Despite the impending difficulties with appointment availability, our medical team will do everything in our power to ensure safe and timely care is delivered to all our beneficiaries.  If on-base appointments are not available, a referral may need to be placed for assistance from our network partners.

Patients are highly encouraged to utilize the Nurse Advice Line (1-800-TRICARE) and TRICARE Online Patient Portal secure messaging as additional options to receive advice and support from your healthcare team.  For information on obtaining a TRICARE Online Patient Portal account, visit http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/TOLPatientPortalSecureMessaging/.  To provide timely care, we ask for your help.  First, help increase appointment availability by decreasing no-shows.  Failing to show up for your scheduled appointment not only impacts everyone’s access to limited services, but is also a waste of valuable tax-payer dollars.  We understand that “life happens” and unforeseen circumstances may cause a missed appointment, and that’s ok!  But when a patient “no-shows” an appointment because he/she forgot, or didn’t plan ahead, it prevents our family, friends, or colleagues from receiving prompt medical care.

Our appointment reminder system is designed to notify patients two days prior to a scheduled appointment.  Please note, the reminder system uses phone numbers listed in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), so it is critical to keep your information current.  You can also update your profile information by logging into www.tricareonline.com.  If you get a reminder call and no longer need the appointment, please let us know immediately so we can cancel your appointment.  Canceling at least 2 hours in advance allows us to offer your appointment to another patient.  You can cancel your appointment or send a message to your PCM 24/7.  The following options are provided for your convenience:
* Log into TRICARE Online to book/cancel appointment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
* Cancel your appointment afterhours by calling the Appointment Line, 520-228-APPT (2778), option 2.  Leave a message and our Appointment Clerks will cancel your appointment the following morning
* Call the Appointment Line during duty hours: 6:30am – 4:00 pm to speak with our team
The 355th MDG is committed to delivering trusted healthcare to all we serve.  We are always looking for ways to improve our services and welcome your feedback.  If you have any questions or ideas of how we can improve your care, please contact the MDG Patient Advocate at patient.advocate2@us.af.mil

Did you know?  You and your family can walk in between 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. for the following reasons, no appointment necessary:

* Painful Urination (Females over 18 years old)
* Sore Throat
* Pregnancy Test
* STI Screening
* Suture Removal
Additional information can be found on the 355th MDG webpage: at http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/MTF/Davis-Monthan.aspx.

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