(HealthDay)—Wait times for new patients for non-emergency care in Massachusetts in 2013 have been stable or shorter in all specialties except internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, and pediatrics, according to a report issued by the Massachusetts Medical Society.
The report, "2013 MMS Patient Access to Care Study," examines the availability and access to non-emergency new patient appointments in seven specialties (cardiology, internal medicine, family medicine, gastroenterology, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedic surgery, and pediatrics) based on 1,137 telephone interviews of randomly selected physicians' offices across Massachusetts.
The researchers found that wait times were stable or shorter in all specialties except internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, and pediatrics. Wait times ranged from 22 days for orthopedic surgery to 50 days for internal medicine. Orthopedic surgeons and gastroenterologists continued to be most likely to accept new patients, while internal medicine and family medicine physicians continued to be the least likely to accept new patients.
The study also found that Medicare was almost universally accepted, ranging from 85 percent for internal medicine to 98 percent for orthopedic surgery. In contrast, acceptance of MassHealth (for those with lower incomes) ranged from 66 percent for internal medicine to 90 percent for gastroenterology and obstetrics/gynecology.