How was your last doctor or clinic visit? Are the maintenance people doing services outside of normal hours that are keeping you awake? Is housing not being timely and responsive to an issue? Did you have a great experience at the commissary or CDC? Maybe there was something missing, off, out of control, or amazing. What is the best way to file a complaint, give constructive feedback, or let management know about your experience whether good or bad? Welcome to the Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE). Stick around for the best way to deal with a medical provider.
Many people don't know about the ICE system, how to use it, or that you can also use it for positive feedback as well. You can submit an ICE comment for all services offered on base. When you run a search for ICE is it usually always followed by complaint so that's what we are going to talk about here.
The ICE system has a hierarchy of managers responsible for evaluating and responding to the comments submitted. Most commonly senior leadership designates a specialty section or person to respond to ICE comments within the organization or section. Usually the top tier management will look at the section the comment is directed toward and push the comment down to them to respond to. Sometimes the top tier management reviews these comments and collects data for trends to brief in meetings but many times I've seen them pushed down to the section level to analyze and respond.
At this time, there is generally a time limit that is set up in the system for a required response time to ICE comments for your section. That doesn't mean that any negative action will happen if the timeline is exceeded (it just depends on leadership) and there is a way of meeting the timeline by responding either by phone or email to the comments that allows the response timeline to be met. Even if the commenter doesn't pick up the phone or receive the email, the timeline was still met by the ICE representative.
So if you wondered who on the backend received the comments, it is anyone authorized access as a manager in the ICE system (usually not many). If you were curious how long they had to respond, it is a timeline setup in the system usually 48 - 72 hours in my experience. I do not know at what level the timeline is approved or managed.
A common complaint that I see is poor service or professionalism offered at a medical appointment to the service member or family member. For this, there is a triple threat technique that can be used to quickly deal with an inappropriate healthcare team member. For other situations, the process is generally the same with the exception of step 3.
1. Once you get through the experience that bothered you, ask to speak with the patient advocate or manager on the spot. You can come back to do this later but it is really best to do it right then and there. As a manager, I want the ability to address this situation immediately and right the problem. Be sure to tell them the person who did it. Most commonly, if the person has done it with you, they have done it before and will do it again.
2. Submit an ICE comment at their website. Just search for your installation and service. If you don't see the service you want to report directly, there is usually a place to submit your comment that doesn't fall into a pre-listed category. Be sure to list the person by name on your comment. This really helps out the management team.
3. Provide an appropriate response on your JOES survey. If you thought it was inappropriate and handled incorrectly, then report it accurately. Low scores on this report result in a direct loss of income for the healthcare facility. Name the person that caused the issue and now there are three separate complaints in three different systems. This brings the actions of the person to light with several different people and also connects their name to a direct loss of funds for the facility. This technique always worked with addressing problems in my experience.
Here is an example of an ICE site for a specific installation and the options that you have to submit a comment on. You can also call if you don't want to do it online.
Don't be a bystander, when you see or experience something wrong, report it. Be the change. With that said, also praise the change you want to see in the world. Drive on!