Blog | Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Need to see a doc? Take a number.


It's almost Medical News of the Obvious to those of us who have lived in big cities.

Merritt Hawkins released a survey today on the cities with the longest wait times to get a new patient appointment. Number one on the list of 15 metro areas? Boston, where it takes, on average, 70 days to see an Ob/Gyn, 63 days to see a family doctor, 54 days to see a dermatologist, 40 days to see an orthopedic surgeon, and 21 days to see a cardiologist.

Next on the list is Philadelphia (no surprise to yours truly), followed by L.A., Houston, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Minneapolis, Dallas, Miami, New York, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Detroit and Atlanta.

It's always been a little perplexing to me that it's so difficult to get appointments in Philadelphia, when there is such a large supply of medical schools and facilities. Boston is also chock-a-block with doctors, although, as the Merritt Hawkins release points out, there's been a surge in demand there since the state mandated coverage for all residents in 2006.

The survey also looked at Medicaid acceptance rates among medical offices, and found the overal rate for all 15 metro areas was 55%. It was highest in Minneapolis at 82%, and lowest in Dallas at 39%.