How long do patients usually have to wait before they can land an appointment with you? Some of the answers to this question are shocking. A survey conducted by Merritt Hawkins revealed the average wait times for cities across the nation. The information recorded was eye opening and hopefully helps to decrease the amount of time it takes to schedule a new patient appointment with physicians among the 15 major cities surveyed. Based on the information provided by the Merritt Hawkins survey, it could take weeks to schedule an appointment!
Need to See a Physician? Get in Line.
Inside the United States, the demand for physicians is much higher than the supply. Various physician appointment wait times recorded in the survey ranged from as little as one day to over eight months!
1,399 medical offices were surveyed in 15 metropolitan areas across the nation. Results revealed that the average new patient doctor appoint wait times was an eye popping 18.5 days. Among all the cities surveyed, Boston seems to be racking up the longest average new patient doctor appointment wait times with 45 days to just schedule an appointment. Aside from that, Boston is also experiencing the longest appointment wait times with the following:
- 66 days – family phyisician
- 46 days – ob/gyn
- 27 days –cardiologist
- 72 days –dermatologist
- 16 days –orthopedic surgeon
On the opposite side of the charts, with the shortest wait times recorded was Dallas having averages ranging from just 10.2 days for all specialties to a mere five days for family physicians.
At this time, primary care is based on a physician to population ratio of 1 to 3,500. Medical experts prepare themselves to face the major shortage supply that is establishing in the next coming years. The Association of American Medial Colleges’ (AAMC) center for Workforce Studies predicts that by 2020, the United States will face a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,100 surgeons and medical specialists.
This data may cause wait times in the previously surveyed metropolitan areas to increase, unfortunately. The future lack of specialty physicians is going to create issues for those who need to get the treatment they need in a timely manner. Those living in rural and inner-city areas are already experiencing the difficulty with accessing medical offices.
More Factors Proving Problematic
There are many more factors that are affecting the wait times in medical offices, such as operators not understanding the scheduling system. However, a major contributor is the new Affordable Care Act and its effects on rural America.
The issue with the Affordable Care Act is that the rates for Medicaid and other types of insurance acceptance are quickly lessening. As a physician, most insurance firms are not willing to pay what your services are asking; therefore, insurances are being turned down left and right by practices. In turn, if doctors are no longer accepting patient’s faulty insurances, they will most likely be ending up in the emergency room.
Be the Change
Some of the rewarding benefits of being a locum doctor are that you can help to lower these wait times and give extraordinary services to those in need! Lucky for you, it is easy to choose where you would like to complete assignments and all of the 15 metropolitan areas from above are options. How much better would you feel knowing you could help solve a major issue in the healthcare industry? Make dreams come true and apply for locum jobs in cities that desperately need you today!