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 studyKaiser Health News/Washington Post‘s “Wonkblog” reports.

Study Details

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:

  • Atlanta;
  • Boston;
  • Dallas;
  • Denver;
  • Detroit;
  • Houston;
  • Los Angeles;
  • Miami;
  • Minneapolis;
  • New York City;
  • Philadelphia;
  • Portland;
  • San Diego;
  • Seattle; and
  • Washington, D.C.

Study Findings

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).

About Concierge Medicine Journal

Concierge Medicine Journal (CMJ) curates breaking concierge medicine news, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of Concierge Medicine.

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