Study: Average Wait for Doctor’s Appointment in Cities Was 18.5 Days
New patients in 15 U.S. metropolitan cities in 2013 had to wait an average of 18.5 days to see a doctor, compared with 20.4 days in 2009, the year before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, according to a new Merritt Hawkins study, Kaiser Health News/Washington Post's "Wonkblog" reports.
For the study, researchers contacted between June and November 2013 1,399 medical offices that specialize in cardiology, dermatology, family practice, gynecology/obstetrics and orthopedic surgery.
They asked the practices for the first available appointment for a new patient seeking routine care.
The study surveyed medical practices in 15 cities:
- Los Angeles;
- New York City;
- San Diego;
- Seattle; and
- Washington, D.C.
The researchers found that new patients had to wait an average of 18.5 days in the 15 cities.
They also found that:
- The longest wait times were in Boston, where patients would have to wait an average of 72 days to see a dermatologist and 66 days to see a family physician; and
- The shortest wait times were in Dallas, where patients would have to wait an average of 10.2 days for all specialists and five days for a family physician.
In addition, the survey found that fewer physicians in metropolitan areas were accepting Medicaid in 2013 than in 2009.
About 45.7% of physicians said they would accept Medicaid in 2013, down from 55.4% in 2009. Acceptance of Medicaid in the latest survey varied from 73% in Boston to 23% in Dallas.
Meanwhile, about 76% of physicians said they accepted Medicare (Gold, "Wonkblog," Kaiser Health News/Washington Post, 1/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.