The latest report on access to medical care in Massachusetts is looking just about half-full — or half-empty, depending on your disposition. The good news is, the waiting times to see Massachusetts doctors are not generally getting worse, and some even slightly improved. The bad news is, it can still take a month or more to get an appointment — and only about half of primary care doctors are taking new patients. Half of residents surveyed say affordability is the biggest issue in health care.
WBUR carries the AP report here, including:
Access to primary care doctors in Massachusetts improved slightly in 2012, although about half still say they aren’t accepting new patients, according to a Massachusetts Medical Society survey released Wednesday.
The survey found 51 percent of internists and 50 percent of family doctors say they are taking new patients. That’s a small improvement from last year, when 49 percent of internists and 47 percent of family doctors were accepting new patients.
Average times for new patients seeking appointments with primary care doctors remained long, according to the survey. In the 2012 survey, it took an average of about 45 days for new patients to see a family doctor. That’s up from 36 days last year and 29 days in 2010. Wait times for internal medicine also were high at an average 44 days. That was an improvement over the average of 53 days in 2010 and 48 days last year.
“There is access,” Dr. Richard Aghababian, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, said, despite the month it may take to get a routine appointment. “We have a safety net and we have a system that works and we have access. Just remember the safety net is there if you need it.”