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Report quantifies difficulty of finding physician in U.S.

Thursday December 26, 2013
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In the 12 preceding months, 2.4% of people in the U.S. reported having problems finding a general physician, according to a report.

In addition, 2.1% of those interviewed had been told that a physician would not accept them as new patients, and 2.9% were told a physician did not accept their healthcare coverage.

The findings appear in the December data brief of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Data came from the National Health Interview Survey, which included responses from 34,525 adults.

Adults ages 18 to 64 were more likely than other age groups to have trouble finding a general physician, or to be told the physician would not accept them as a new patient or would not accept their healthcare coverage.

In the 18-to-64 age group, those with public coverage had more trouble finding a general physician than those with private insurance. Those with public coverage also were more likely to be told that a doctor’s office or clinic would not accept them as new patients, or that the office or clinic would not accept their healthcare coverage.

Uninsured adults in that age group were as likely as adults with public coverage to have problems finding a general physician, but were less likely to be told that a physician would not accept them as new patients.

“This is consistent with recent surveys, which indicate that while 89% of general doctors accept new self-pay patients, fewer accept new Medicare or Medicaid patients,” the study authors wrote.

The disparity between insurance coverage types “was not observed among adults aged 65 and over with Medicare: Rates were similarly low for those older Medicare-insured adults with and without additional private insurance,” the authors wrote.

Data brief: www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db138.htm


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