Merritt Hawkins: 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare Acceptance Rates
A survey examining the time needed to schedule a new patient physician appointment in 15 major metropolitan areas and in 15 mid-sized metropolitan areas, as well as the rates of physician Medicare and Medicaid acceptance in these areas.
Merritt Hawkins is a national healthcare search and consulting firm specializing in the recruitment of physicians in all medical specialties as well as advanced practice clinical professionals. Established in 1987, Merritt Hawkins is a company of AMN Healthcare (NYSE: AMN) the innovator in healthcare workforce solutions and the largest provider of healthcare staffing services in the nation.
Merritt Hawkins conducts an ongoing series of surveys on a wide range of physician workforce topics, including physician recruiting incentives, physician practice patterns, physician revenue generation and related subjects. Merritt Hawkins’ surveys are conducted on both a proprietary basis and on behalf of third parties that partner with Merritt Hawkins on various survey or analysis projects.
This report summarizes the results of Merritt Hawkins’ 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare and Medicaid Acceptance Rates and includes results of similar surveys Merritt Hawkins has conducted in prior years.
The survey was conducted to determine the average time new patients must wait before they can see a physician in 15 large metropolitan markets. For the first time, the survey also includes average times new patients must wait to see a physician in 15 mid-sized metropolitan markets of between 88,000 and 143,000 people.
Following are selected key findings from Merritt Hawkins’ 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare and Medicaid Acceptance Rates:
- Average new patient physician appointment wait times have increased significantly. The average wait time for a physician appointment for the 15 large metro markets surveyed is 24.1 days, up 30% from 2014.
- Appointment wait times are longer in mid-sized metro markets than in large metro markets. The average wait time for a new patient physician appointment in all 15 mid-sized markets is 32 days, 32.8% higher than the average for large metro markets.
- At 52.4 days, Boston has the highest average new patient physician appointment wait time of the 15 large metro markets surveyed.
- At 48.8 days, Yakima, Washington has the highest average new patient physician appointment wait time of the 15 mid-sized metro markets surveyed.
- At 14.8 days, Dallas has the lowest average physician appointment wait time of the 15 major markets surveyed.
- At 10.8 days, Billings, Montana has the lowest average physician appointment wait time of the 15 mid-sized markets.
- For large markets, the average wait time to see a family medicine physician is 29 days (up 50% from 2014), and ranges from a high of 109 days in Boston to a low of 8 days in Minneapolis.
- For mid-sized markets, the average wait time to see a family medicine physician is 56.3 days and ranges from a high of 122 days in Albany, New York to a low of seven days in Billings, Montana.
- The average rate of physician Medicare acceptance is 85% in large metro markets and 81% in mid-sized markets.
- The average rate of physician Medicaid acceptance is 53% in major metro markets and 60% in mid-sized markets.