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Longest Wait Times for Appointments in Boston and Philly

Need to see a doctor?  Depending on where you live…don’t hold your breath.

Merritt Hawkins released the results of their Physician Appointment Wait Times survey and Philadelphia is ranked second, but not in a good way.   Boston, a city in a state that recently expanded access to healthcare coverage, led the pack of 15 major cities surveyed as having the longest average times to schedule an appointment.

The survey tracked appointment times for new patients in five specialties:  Cardiology, Dermatology, Obstetrics-Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery and Family Practice.

In Boston, it takes 70 days to see an obstetrician/gynecologist, 63 days to see a family physician, 54 days to see a dermatologist, 40 days to see an orthopedic surgeon, and 21 days to see a cardiologist, according to the survey.  In Philly, it takes 47 days for derm; 46 days for OB/GYN; and 22 for Ortho.

The survey also tracked Medicaid acceptance among the five specialties.  Philadelphia was near the bottom of the list with just 46 percent taking Medicaid.  Minneapolis was first with over 82 percent acceptance.  Boston was third with 68 percent.

Merritt Hawkins concluded that “an economic recovery may be expected to increase physician
utilization and extend appointment wait times. These long wait times serve as a sign of what could occur nationally if access to healthcare is made more generally available through healthcare reform.”

To view the survey, go to www.merritthawkins.com/pdf/mha2009waittimesurvey.pdf

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