Impact of the Wait for an Initial Appointment on the Rate of Kept Appointments at a Mental Health Center

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Failure to keep initial appointments at a community mental health center results in a burden on the staff and the center's financial resources. The authors studied referrals to an outpatient program and found that delay in scheduling appointments had a significant impact on rate of kept appointments. The impact was significant during the first week of delay and appeared to stabilize after day seven. Age influenced the rate but differed in influence between the adult and child programs. Changes aimed at reducing wait time for initial appointments may favorably affect rate of kept appointments and ultimately preserve staff and financial resources.

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