The telephone survey of 417 Massachusetts adults, conducted May 14-16, found that 56% of respondents were “very satisfied” with their care and 28% were somewhat satisfied.
Affordability and cost were named the main issue by 45% of respondents, with access a distant second at 13%. Cost was also the chief reason for dissatisfaction with healthcare. “Too expensive” was cited as the chief complaint by half of those surveyed. Poor care or a poor physician was the chief complaint of 27% of respondents, while 23% cited poor coverage, 18% cited “lack of access” or limits on where they could go for care, and only 12% said long wait times for an appointment was their main reason for dissatisfaction.
More people reported waiting more than two weeks to see a primary-care doctor this year than last year (42% in 2013 compared with 32% in 2012), but 90% said this wasn't problematic.
Emergency department visits were up as 31% of respondents reported going to an ED in 2013 compared with 25% in 2012. More than a third (34%) said the ED was the “easiest place to get care.” Also, 24% said they had received care at a retail health clinic.
Some experts have warned that with millions more Americans receiving coverage under the federal law, patients could have a hard time finding providers, particularly primary-care physicians. The Massachusetts experience may or may not be similar to the national experience because Massachusetts is a largely urban, heavily doctored state.
“This year's survey has good news for patients and physicians as well as some warning signs,” Dr. Ronald Dunlap, Massachusetts Medical Society president, said in a news release. “Reform has not caused major disruption in the delivery of care as perceived by the patients.”
Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks