November 25, 2008

Waiting For Doc

Yesterday I tried to switch from a downtown doctor to a suburban doctor, but I was turned away. According to the person answering the phone, few practices in the state are accepting new patients. It is very difficult to get a primary care physician in Massachusetts today.

Massachusetts is the first state in the country to institute a "near universal health care" policy - basically everybody in the state is required to have some form of health insurance, with the state guaranteeing access to some basic coverage. It is a great idea, but it is now obvious that the medical industry wasn't prepared to handle the onslaught of new patients.

The Globe estimates the wait for getting a doctor in the state now exceeds 100 days. The severe shortage can probably be blamed on 13 straight years of decreasing doctor compensation, increasing malpractice liability, and increasing administrative overhead in the state. 2008 is the first year that some of these trends have started to reverse themselves here.

As the Democrats gear up to increase medical care for the whole nation, they would be wise to start making medicine a more attractive profession now.

For now, I am stuck going downtown to see my doctor until the new crop of med school students graduate. I consider myself lucky to have a doctor at all.

Posted by David at November 25, 2008 06:15 AM

I know it's not quite the same, but don't you have a "doctor in the house"? ;-)

Posted by: Olga at November 26, 2008 12:04 AM

Yah, it's true, so if I diagnose myself using Google, Heidi can just write prescriptions. But if I want to see a specialist, I still need an official "primary care physician" to refer me.

Have you seen the Physician's Foundation survey? The profession is in a tough spot: 27% of doctors wish they had never become doctors.

Posted by: David at November 26, 2008 08:10 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?