The average wait for an MD appointment

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, Jun 4, 2004.

  1. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    Despite Boston’s reputation as a medical powerhouse awash in specialists, patients can’t get in to see them — at least not quickly.

    The Texas-based consulting ?rm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates surveyed 1,062 physician specialists’ of?ces in 15 major cities and found Boston patients wait longest for appointments. The study, released this week, found that new patients in Boston wait an average 37 days to see a cardiologist, 45 days to see an obstetrician-gynecologist, and 50 days to see a dermatologist — the longest waits of the 15 cities. Patients schedule appointments with an orthopedic surgeon in Boston 24 days in advance on average, the second longest delay after Los Angeles, where patients wait 43 days.

    Overall, the survey said, Boston has the longest waits while patients in Washington, D.C., can see doctors the fastest, within 8 to 15 days. Since the numbers are averages, some cardiologists in Boston, for example, had four-month waits, while others could see patients in as soon as seven days.

    The survey did not address whether the delays harm patients, or why certain cities are worse than others. But executives at Merritt, Hawkins, which recruits staff for hospitals and doctors’ of?ces, and health-care specialists pointed to several possible reasons for delays in Boston and other cities, including shortages of specialists as older doctors cut back on hours or retire. Patients also may be demanding more appointments, now that managed care insurers have loosened restrictions on access to specialists.

    ‘‘Frankly, I’m at a loss to explain it,’’ said Paul Ginsburg, president of The Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpro?t research organization based in Washington, D.C. ‘‘Boston is a great place to practice. But this is a longstanding pattern. Obviously there seems to be some kind of shortage.’’

    This goes to the main page of the Boston Globe. Go half way down the page, there is a graph of average waits in major cities.
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    And you right-wingers complain about Canada's health care system why again?
  3. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    well just be happy that in the us you see doctors eventually in some places there are no doctors to see

    i guess theres just to many patients and the doctors cant see everyone right away, good news for med students :)
  4. zarathustra macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2002
    Philadelphia, PA
    Having experienced a socialist health-care system I can tell you that it is nice not to have to pay for a visit, but in general, I would have to wait from 6:00 in the morning to see a doctor and probably waste my whole day. And that would be just a family doctor, not a specialist. Here in the US I can see my family doctor on a very short notice, as can I see me dentist, orthodontist, whoever.

    Those waiting averages are for specialists - dermatologists, gynecologists, maxillofacial surgeons, etc. If you needed immediate attention I am sure you wouldn't have to wait months to get in.

    As a child growing up in Europe with a socialist health-care system, I was on a waiting list for a surgery for 5 years (!).

    Last summer I needed some other surgery and here in the US and I went under the knife in 5 months. You might think that's a long time, but they had to prepare by taking CAT-scans, building models, etc. It's not something I wanted to rush.

    If I would have had a life threatening condition I could have gone under the knife in a matter of hours.

    So as a person having experienced both the US and other socialist health-care systems, I prefer the US. If you didn't know there is a whole industry of health-care-travel to the US. People from all over the world fly in to the Us to have procedures done. They stay in hospitals that are built more like a hotel/resort and return home after they heal. If the US health-care system would be so bad, this wouldn't be happening.

    Kind of like the siamese twins that were joined at the head - they came to the US (Dallas, TX to be precise) to have the separation performed, not Canada or Germany.
  5. wdlove thread starter macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    Well said, zarathustra, thank you. It is nice to actually hear form someone that has experienced both forms of medical care. The world comes here because of our superior medical care. As mentioned in the article it was the wait for a first visit. If you are with your family doctor and it's an emergency there would be almost not wait at all. May things can wait, but a person should be under the care of a doctor.
  6. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 19, 2003

    To get into a dermatologist was short. I got in in about 25 days, but thats only because i had a week vacation and some other things going on, they actually had several spots open for a week.
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I agree w/zarathustra. A few years ago I spent a semester studying in London and while over there I busted up my hand and requried surgery. Now, sense I was just visiting the cost of the surgery and follow-up visits had to come out of my pocket (only ER care was free). The good news is that the total cost was significantly less than if I had to pay out of pocket in the US (side note: once I got back to the states I was reimbursed by my insurance company). The bad news is the waiting, waiting and more waiting. I walked into the ER around 11PM. I saw a Doc at 8am. Doc said I need to see a specialist. Saw the Specialist around noon. Specialist put my hand in a cast and said to come back Monday around 1pm (this was a friday). So 14hrs after walking into the ER I leave after talking w/a pair of Docs for about an hour. Monday I come back at 1pm. Waited until 4 to see my Doc. He says that I need surgery. So we schedule it for the following morning (Tuesday) at 10am. Doc also says I'll have to stay in the hospital for a day or two to recover so I need to wait for a bed to open up. But if I leave the hospital and miss them calling my name then I go to the bottom of the list in the bed line. So I wait at the hospital. Until 1am Tuesday morning when a bed opens up.

    Every follow-up appointment was the same thing. I would have to wait 3 or 4 hours to see my doc. It's as bad as waiting for the cable company. "We can be there between 8am and noon or between noon and 5 pm." :rolleyes:

    Neither system is perfect, but I like socialized medicine less.

  8. evil macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
    chicago ex-toronto
    im an american who has been living in canada for the past 3 years.
    i have used the healthcare system many times. i have not been in the hospital, but i have used the walk in clinic many times. this is basically like going to a family doctor, but you dont have to make an appointment.
    the wait is usually around 45 minutes or so.
    based on my experiences i prefer the canadian health care.

    while i have not used the hospitals here, i have been to a few of them with my girlfriend and the hospital seemed no different than the ones in the states. the waiting time was comparable to the waiting in american hospitals, and the facilities physically seemed no different.

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