Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

California’s Wait Times For Doctors Are… Illegal?

California debuted new rules that specify patients in health maintenance organizations (HMO) see a doctor within 10 days of asking for an appointment. Calls must be return within a half-hour, and health professionals must be available 24/7. Urgent care must be seen in 48 hours.

Richard Frankenstein, FACP, former president of the California Medical Association, told the Los Angeles Times that this places pressure on the HMOs to have a big enough network to deliver what they promise. Critics contend this will force doctors to rush patient care even more, or be especially damaging to rural areas already facing a shortage.

The law was passed in 2002. It took state officials seven years of negotiations with HMOs, doctors and hospitals to draft the final regulations. Now, HMOs have a year to figure out how to implement the goals, or face consumer complaints to the state and possible penalties.

Physician recruiters Merritt Hawkins & Associates found that patients in San Diego wait an average of 24 days for a routine physical and those in Los Angeles wait 59 days on average. (The results were part of a national survey for major metro areas, comparing results from 2004 to 2009.)

This might be old hat to those who’ve chosen to adopt the patient-centered medical home model, and can offer such care. But could you practice internal medicine through an HMO contract in California now?

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »