KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Massachusetts Patients Face Long Wait Times For Doctor Appointments

A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Medical Society found patients can wait as a long as a month and a half for non-urgent physicians' appointments.

The Boston Globe: Wait For Doctors Visit As Long As 48 Days In Mass.
A new poll of 838 Massachusetts doctors finds patients are still waiting weeks – in some cases as long as a month and a half – for non-urgent appointments with primary care physicians and certain specialists. Surveyors for the Massachusetts Medical Society called doctors' offices in February and March and asked when they could come in for routine care. They requested a new patient appointment with internists, family practitioners, and pediatricians; an appointment for heartburn with gastroenterologists; a heart check-up with cardiologists; an appointment for knee pain with orthopedic surgeons; and a routine exam with obstetrician/gynecologists (Kowalczyk, 5/9).

Reuters: In Massachusetts, Long Waits For Doctor Visits Common
The state's program is often regarded as a model for President Barack Obama's 2010 health care reforms. Conservatives have criticized Romney for his support of the state's plan, although he has said it was designed for Massachusetts and would not work as a national plan. The medical society on Monday issued its annual Physician Workforce survey, which was conducted in February and March. More than 23,000 doctors and students are members of MMS, which publishes the New England Journal of Medicine (Krasny, 5/9).

WBUR: Mass. Doctors Not Seeing New Patients, Wait Times Lengthening
The study also found that while the vast majority of primary care physicians in Massachusetts accepted Medicare, only 53 percent of internists and 62 percent of family physicians accepted MassHealth, the state's Medicaid plan. Only 43 percent of internists and 56 percent of family physicians accepted Commonwealth Care, the state-administered program that provides subsidized care for those earning up to three times the federal poverty level (5/9).

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