Boston patients wait the longest for doctor appointments

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 28, 2004

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Getting a new-patient appointment with a physician in Washington, D.C., is much easier than it is in Boston, according to a survey by Merritt, Hawkins & Associates.

The survey measured wait times for appointments for routine exams in 15 metropolitan areas, focusing on cardiologists, dermatologists, ob-gyns and orthopedic surgeons.

Boston was the most difficult place for new patients to get an appointment, with an average wait of 37 days to see a cardiologist, 50 for a dermatologist, 45 for an ob-gyn and 24 for an orthopedic surgeon.

Though Boston is home to several academic medical centers, which produce a large number of medical residents each year, Merritt, Hawkins said the city may be having a hard time retaining physicians because of the heavy managed care influence in the area and the rising cost of medical liability insurance.

Washington, D.C., however, had the shortest wait times, which Merritt, Hawkins attributed to the high number of physicians there, 718 per 100,000 people. In Washington, the wait for a cardiologist was 12 days, 15 for a dermatologist, 11 for an ob-gyn and 8 for an orthopedic surgeon.

Other cities surveyed were Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego and Seattle.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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