Dec 09 2008

Need a Same Day Doctor Appointment? Can’t Make It Happen?

Seven out of ten of the people who read this post will nod their heads in understanding.

You’re sick, or you hurt. You need to see your primary care doctor as soon as possible. You call to make an appointment, in hopes you’ll be seen within the next few hours — but NO. Not gonna happen. You can’t get an appointment for another few days.

Sounds familiar?

First — an explanation. Yes, it’s definitely more difficult to get an appointment for primary care these days. The last statistic I heard was that there are 14,000 too few primary care practitioners in the United States, and that number is growing:

  1. Baby boomers, as they age, need to visit their primaries more often, leaving fewer appointment slots for others.
  2. Practitioners who are of baby boomer age are retiring, leaving empty primary care practices behind.
  3. Primary care doctors make less many than any other specialty — therefore, fewer medical students are choosing primary care as their specialty.

So what are we supposed to do about it?

CNN’s Empowered Patient columnist, Elizabeth Cohen, brings us some great ideas for getting around this primary care dilemma.  In particular, check out her #5 suggestion of “go a little crazy” — have you ever tried those kinds of tactics?

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2 comments

    • Sharon on December 19, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I remember one time a few years ago when I had accidentally stepped on a fish hook and couldn’t get it out. They offered me an appointment in 6 weeks. Ridiculous.

  1. Our office has same day scheduling and no is told that they can’t be seen. It stops the pre-scheduled appts that always are forgotten and the truly sick patients can be seen quickly. I very much disagree with Elizabeth Cohen’s telling patients to “go a little crazy” and putting an example of a patient calling a television station to complain as very irresponsible. One can only cry wolf so many times before something truly bad happens. I did agree with the other four suggestions however.

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