8% of Americans report “big problem” getting appointment with specialist

Approximately 1 in 13 people that needed to see a specialist in 2007 reported that getting an appointment was a big problem. 

According to an AHRQ press release, researchers from The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) examined data from the Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS-HC) to determine how adults age 18 and over perceived their need for and ability to access specialty physicians in 2007.

Key highlights from the report:

  • The proportion of adults who reported difficulty getting specialty care was substantially higher for people who didn't have a usual source of care (e.g., family physician) than for people who did have a usual source of care.
  • Nonelderly adults without insurance were much more likely to report difficulty seeing a specialist than nonelderly adults with public coverage or private insurance.
  • Elderly people with Medicare and supplemental public insurance were much more likely to report access was a big problem than those with Medicare only (5 percent) or with Medicare and supplemental private coverage.

Click here for the full report.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, January 27, 2010; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) News and Numbers, http://www.ahrq.gov, January 20, 2010)