Friday, June 13, 2014

Doctor Waits Outside the VA

The Associated Press notes, "Outside the VA, waits for doctors can vary widely".

One excerpt:
Need routine primary care? The average wait to see a family physician for the first time ranged from 66 days in Boston to just five days in Dallas, according to a survey in 15 large cities by health care consulting firm Merritt Hawkins.

And doctors are bracing for new demand from millions of people newly insured through the federal health care law.

“To say it’s an easy solution to the VA problem — we’ll just have them get care in the community — overestimates the capacity the community has to absorb these folks,” said Dr. Yul Ejnes of the American College of Physicians.
It's interesting that the waits are so long on Boston.  As CNN reported last year, (10/2/2013) this is related to the Massachusetts "RomneyCare" plan:
When the Massachusetts law kicked in, wait times to get an appointment at primary care physicians' offices increased significantly, and they've remained high ever since, according to an annual survey from the Massachusetts Medical Society. And Massachusetts has the second highest physician-to-population ratio of any state.

When patients couldn't get doctor's appointments they once again turned to emergency rooms.
One unanswered questions is how bad waiting times will get in the rest of the country as ObamaCare kicks in, given that almost every other state has a far worse physician-to-population ratio than Massachusetts.

We'll find out soon enough.