In Massachusetts, long waits for doctor visits

Mon, May 9 2011

By Ros Krasny

BOSTON (Reuters) – Almost everyone in Massachusetts has health insurance under a state mandate, but many doctors do not accept the subsidized insurance programs available to low-income residents, a new study shows.

Residents in some areas also face long waits in getting doctors’ appointments, or find that overstretched primary care practices are not taking on new patients.  Many primary care doctors do not accept MassHealth, the state’s version of Medicaid, and even less accept Commonwealth Care and Commonwealth Choice, programs for low- and moderate-income residents.

More than half of primary care practices are not taking new patients, especially patients for whose treatment they will be paid at a much lower level than for those carrying private health insurance.  New patient wait times in Massachusetts jumped between 2006 and 2007 after the initial implementation of the state health care reform law, and have remained high. As a result, the rate of emergency room visits to receive care has also stayed high.

The complete report, “2011 Patient Access to Health Care Survey” can be viewed on the Massachusetts Medical Society website.

www.bit.ly/mqZno4 .

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Tim Colling

Tim Colling is the founder and President of A Servant's Heart In-Home Care, which provided in-home caregiving services in San Diego County, and also of A Servant's Heart Geriatric Care Management, which provided
professional geriatric care management services and long term care placement services in San Diego County. Tim has more than 30 years of experience in management in a variety of industries. He held a Certified Care Manager credential from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers. Tim is also a Certified Public Accountant (retired), and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from California State University at San Diego. In addition to writing blog posts here for the Servant’s Heart blog, Tim also is a regular contributor to HealthLine.com and to FamilyAffaires.com as well as blogs of other eldercare services provider companies. Finally, Tim is also the president of A Servant's Heart Web Design and Marketing, which provides home care marketing as well as website design and online marketing for those who serve the elderly and their families.

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