This is not the least bit heartening:
By the time a new patient hears the words “the doctor will see you now,” it may have taken weeks or even months to get that appointment. Need to see a dermatologist in Boston? The average appointment wait time is a staggering 72 days, according to a recent survey.
“It’s often said what sets apart the American healthcare system is that if someone encounters a problem, they can schedule an appointment and be seen by a doctor at any time,” said Daniel Ehlke, an assistant professor of health policy and management at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center School of Public Health. “But if you look closely at the local level, it usually takes a considerable amount of time to see a doctor.”
Merritt Hawkins, a healthcare consulting firm, conducted a survey [pdf] to determine the average time new patients have to wait to see a doctor in 15 metropolitan areas. The survey focused on five medical specialties: cardiology, dermatology, family practice, obstetrics / gynecology, and orthopedic surgery.
The average wait time was over 18 days. Orthopedic surgery was the only specialty that averaged less than 14 days.
And that was 2014. There’s no reason to think things have improved since then.
Unless someone cancels between now and then, I have a 33-day wait to see the neurologist. By then, I might be dead. (And right now, that looks like the preferable outcome.)