Almost 94% of physicians accept new patients into their practices, yet those involved in federal healthcare programs show a higher rate of restricting access to new patients, according to a recent survey.
"The good news is that access to physician services may not reach a crisis point anytime soon," the survey report concludes. "The bad news? Access for some payers--particularly those in federally funded programs--is being closed off at a disturbing rate."
About 17% of all physician practices are not accepting new Medicare patients, and 32% are not accepting new Medicaid patients, says the survey from AmeriMed Consulting, a physician staffing development and healthcare management company based in Irving, Texas.
Primary care physicians are least likely to take new patients of any type, but the percentage for that specialty who are accepting still remains relatively high at 91%, the report finds.
An affiliate of the MHA Group, AmeriMed performs regular healthcare trend surveys with an emphasis on access, delivery, migration and perception.
AmeriMed examined 671 completed surveys returned in March from a pool of 5,000 randomly selected, private-practice physicians in nonhospital based specialties.
The survey also looks at satisfaction with physician earnings and concludes that closing a practice to certain payers does not make a significant difference in satisfaction with pay. Almost 80% of practices that are not accepting any new patients rate their current level of earnings as average or above average/excellent. A slightly lower percentage of open practices, or about 75%, say the same.
One in five physicians with closed practices report below-average or poor earnings, compared with 25% of those with open practices.