Physician Wait Times Vary Sharply Among Major US Markets

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , January 31, 2014

Once again, Boston, the Hub of Romney care, has the longest average wait times for doctor appointments of the 15 metro markets examined in the survey:

  • 72 days to see a dermatologist
  • 66 days to see a family physician
  • 46 days to see an OB/GYN/
  • 27 days to see a cardiologist
  • 16 days to see an orthopedic surgeon

On average, it takes more than 45 days to schedule a doctor appointment in the Boston area.

Merritt Hawkins has conducted the survey in 2004, 2009, and 2014 and each time Boston has averaged the longest wait times among the 15 cities surveyed.

Kurt Mosley, vice president of Strategic Alliances at Merritt Hawkins says it's not surprising that Boston has the highest wait times because 97% of Massachusetts residents are insured. And while Massachusetts has about 508 physicians per 100,000 people [PDF], one of the highest ratios in the nation, many of those physicians are in academia and aren't seeing patients regularly.

On the other end of the spectrum sits Dallas with the shortest wait times for physician office appointments: 10.2 days for specialists and five days for family physicians. Texas has 264 physicians per 100,000 people, the lowest ratios in the United States, which overall averages 373 physicians per 100,000 people.

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