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New survey: More than half of US chronically ill adults skip needed care due to costs
Date:11/12/2008

addition to access barriers due to costs, U.S. chronically ill patients often experienced long waits to see primary care physicians, difficulty getting care after hours, and often turned to emergency rooms for care. Canadians also reported such primary care access concerns.
  • Only one-quarter (26%) of U.S. and Canadian patients reported same-day access to doctors when they were sickand one-fourth or more reported long waits. In contrast, about half or more of Dutch (60%), New Zealand (54%), and U.K. (48%) patients were able to get a same-day appointment.
  • U.S. patients were the most likely to find it very difficult to get after-hours care without going to an emergency room: 40 percent said it was very difficult, compared with only 15 percent in the Netherlands and Germany, the lowest rates of any country on this measure.
  • In the past two years, 59 percent of U.S. patients visited an emergency room; only Canada had higher rates (64%). In both countries, one in five said they went to the ER for a condition that could have been cared for by a regular doctor if one had been available.
  • In contrast to long waits for primary care, U.S. patients reported short waits for specialists. Three-quarters of patients in the U.S., as well as more than two-thirds in the Netherlands and Germany, were able to get an appointment with a specialist within a month. Waits for specialists were longest in Canada, New Zealand, and the U.K.

Errors, Poor Care Coordination, and Perceptions of Wasteful or Inefficient Care

One-third of U.S. patients more than in any other countryreported either being given the wrong medication or dosage, experiencing a medical error, receiving incorrect test results, or facing delays in hearing about abnormal test results. Patient reports of any error were lowest in the Netherlands (17%), France (18%), and Germany (19%). Indicating inadequate tracking systems, U.S. error rates were
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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