Delays to Seeing Docs Stretch On

A new study finds the average wait for a medical appointment has increased by more than a week since 2004, to 8.6 days, USA Today reports. In Boston, the worst-performing city of the 15 surveyed for the Merritt Hawkins and Associates study, patients waited nearly 50 days, on average, to see a doctor.

"We need to be training more physicians, particularly primary care physicians," a spokesman for the research group said. The conclusion that workforce shortages created the delays was shared by physician groups. Joseph Heyman, the chairman of the American Medical Association said, told the newspaper, "Our nation has a clear history of reducing health care program budgets through across-the-board cuts to health care professionals, and the impact on patients is reduced access to care" (Thompson, 6/4).

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