Waiting Too Long to See the Doctor? What to Do
Your blood pressure is high. Your cholesterol is through the roof. Concerned, your family doctor refers you to a cardiologist. You’re worried, so you call the office to make an appointment as soon as you get home.
Their next open appointment is in two months. You call your doctor back and get another name to try—only to learn that office has a three-month wait.
This is a problem many of us face every day. According to a 2017 Merritt Hawkings study, long waits to see doctors have become the norm across the United States. Of course, how long that wait is depends on where you live and what kind of doctor you want to see.
On average, it takes 24 days to get an appointment when you're a new patient. In some cities, it can take up to 52 days! So what can you do if you have a long wait before your appointment and are concerned? Here are some tips to help you get an appointment as soon as possible.
- Ask if you can be put on a waiting list in case someone cancels their appointment.
- Make sure your doctor knows how urgent your situation is. For example, if you have asthma and your breathing is getting worse, you will need to see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Schedule your appointment as soon as you can. Don’t put it off.
- If another doctor or nurse practitioner in the same practice is available sooner, make an appointment with him or her.
- Call us for help. We are here to help you. Call our Member Services team at the number on the back of your Member ID card and let us know you need help scheduling an appointment. Depending on the situation, we may be able to get you a sooner appointment.
Filed under: Medicare News