Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Waiting In Massachusetts

The September 22, 2008 Boston Globe reports that waiting times in Massachusetts continue to grow longer:
Across Mass., wait to see doctors grows

The wait to see primary care doctors in Massachusetts has grown to as long as 100 days, while the number of practices accepting new patients has dipped in the past four years, with care the scarcest in some rural areas.

...[I]n Great Barrington, Volunteers in Medicine, a clinic for the uninsured, is for the first time treating insured patients. It has taken weeks for newly insured residents to find doctors who will accept new patients, and months longer to get an appointment.

...Amherst family physician Kate Atkinson decided to open her practice to new patients in January partly so she could take on the newly insured, especially since, by her count, 18 doctors in the area had closed their practices over the last two years... She closed her practice to new patients again six weeks later. "We literally have 10 calls a day from patients crying and begging," she said.
This is just another illustration of the fact that "coverage" does not equal care.

Universal health care can promise the first, but not the second. Massachusetts patients know this first-hand. It's too bad that their politicians don't realize that yet.