Can this be Canada?

No, it’s the US and yes, many people wait to see a doctor. My wife and I both experienced such delays this year. We were only able to get appoints within a few days because by luck we had connections with the physicians staff and they fit us in. Otherwise we would have waited several weeks.

Policymakers should keep this in mind when considering changes that increase demand for health care services. If there is one thing in this world that cannot be changed piecemeal, it’s health care.

The number of days a patient had to wait for a new appointment in four specialties — ob/gyn, cardiology, orthopedic surgery, and dermatology — continues to increase, according to a new survey.

Among 15 major metropolitan areas, the time it takes to schedule a new appointment increased by 8% since 2017 and by 24% since 2004, AMN Healthcare and Merritt Hawkins reported.

The average number of days a person had to wait for a new patient appointment was 26 days in cities including New York City, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Overall, new appointment wait times increased from 24.1 days on average in 2017 and 21 days on average in 2004.

The survey also found that wait times were not equal across the specialties. The average wait time for ob/gyn appointments was 31.4 days, a 19% increase from the 2017 survey data (26.4 days). New patients had to wait an average of 26.6 days for cardiology appointments — a 26% increase from 2017 (21.1 days) — and 16.9 days for orthopedic surgery appointments — an increase of 48% from 2017 (11.4 days). Wait times for dermatology appointments averaged 34.5 days, a 7% increase from 2017 (32.3 days).

The only specialty to see a decrease in wait times was family medicine, which averaged 20.6 days for an appointment — a decrease of 30% from 2017 (29.3 days).

Read to full story at the link below.

Medpagetoday

5 comments

  1. It has been my experience that the use of physician assistants and nurse practitioners has increased greatly for common problems. Four of my last six visits to the doc have been handled by assistants. If I want to see the doc I wait more days or a week or two longer.

    The supply of docs especially specialists is uneven across the country and the supply doesn’t keep up with the population growth. This I blame on the rigid control of medical schools.

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  2. I also think that the cost of an education and the time to be certified in a specialty is becoming a factor. I wonder if there are any studies on that? Most doctors no longer work for themselves due to insurance and the required support staff for non-medical stuff like IT and billing. I started my working career when I was 18 and debt free. I can’t imagine starting your life at 30 or older with a half million dollars worth of debt or more and trying to start a family. Why would you go into this field only to be the new doctor on call 24hr a day? It will get worse.

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  3. I learned something interesting from one of my doctors recently. He said they have difficulty attracting new doctors in his specialty because our state (Massachusetts) does not allow them to use some of the procedures they were trained for. I had suspected that the high cost of housing in the Boston area was a factor, but it was minor compared to this .

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