Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Rules To See Doctors In California

California is about to institute rules on how quickly patients have to be seen by doctors. Family practitioners, and presumably all primary care doctors, have to see a patient within ten business days. Specialists have fifteen days to clear an appointment for patients. All phone calls to doctors' offices have to be returned within 30 minutes.

Hmm. Do you think these new rules will increase patient access to physicians or decrease it? Off the top of my head, I'd say the rules SCREW THE PATIENTS' ability to find a doctor. If a doctor already has his appointments booked two months in advance, who will want to take on more patients and possibly get penalized by the state for delayed office visits? So let's see, between Medicare reimbursement cuts and onerous rules about patient visits, good luck trying to find a doctor in California.

Why don't they apply these expediency rules to government agencies? They're the most notorious for delaying timely decision making. The rules only apply to HMO private insurance doctors. They don't apply to county hospital or VA doctors, which of course are controlled by the government.

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