Physician office visits on the decline as even sick, insured patients delay care

Selected articles on trends, challenges and controversies in the changing world of medicine

Posted Dec. 5, 2011

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Selected articles on trends, challenges and controversies in the changing world of medicine.
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A striking series of recent reports have indicated that office-based physicians are seeing fewer patients coming in for visits. Continued struggles in the economy following the 2007-09 recession are considered a factor, with even insured patients putting off care. So are chronic-care patients who would be expected to come in for treatment. American Medical News has looked into what's happening to office visits, and why it's happening.

Costs prompting sicker patients to avoid medical care

A Commonwealth Fund study showed that 42% of self-described "sicker" American adults had cost-related access problems in the last year. Read more

Decline in doctor office visits could be permanent

A JP Morgan Chase report showed an 8% decline in office visits per full-time equivalent physician for September 2011 compared with a year earlier, the third consecutive month of decline compared with the same months in 2010. The report blames the struggling economy for the fall -- and wonders if patients are changing their habits about when they see a doctor. Read more

As premiums rise, are even the insured scrimping on doctor visits?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that even as the amount of money spent on health insurance goes up, the amount spent out-of-pocket for health services is declining. Experts say this isn't about patients getting more for their money -- it's about patients putting off care when they don't have the cash to cover their own expenses as deductibles grow higher. Read more

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