Uncompensated Care, Public Insurance Patients Take Up Almost 50% of Sonoma County Doctors’ Time, Study Says
Sonoma County physicians spend 46% of their time providing uncompensated care and care to patients enrolled in Medi-Cal and other government programs, according to a new Sonoma County Medical Association study. For the study, commissioned by the not-for-profit Sonoma Health Alliance, SCMA sent a 12-question survey to all 974 physicians practicing in the county. The survey asked participants to estimate the number of hours they work each week; how many hours of that time is spent on providing uncompensated care and care for patients in government-sponsored programs; and how many hours they would prefer to spend on such care. The survey found that physicians in the county work an average of 54 hours per week, spend approximately 14 hours each week providing uncompensated care and 12 hours per week providing care for patients covered by Medi-Cal and other government health care programs. Physicians indicated that they would "prefer" to spend about three hours each week on uncompensated care and two hours per week on care for patients in government-sponsored programs. Survey results will appear in the fall 2002 issue of SCMA's quarterly magazine Sonoma Medicine (SCMA release, 10/4). The full study is available online.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.