Outside the VA, Waits for Doctors Can Vary Widely

By:  Lauran Neergaard

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not just veterans who sometimes have to wait for health care. Depending on where you live and what kind of care you want, in parts of the country it's not always easy for new patients to get a quick appointment.

Need routine primary care? The average wait to see a family physician for the first time ranged from 66 days in Boston to just five days in Dallas, according to a survey in 15 large cities by health care consulting firm Merritt Hawkins.

And doctors are bracing for new demand from millions of people newly insured through the federal health care law.

"To say it's an easy solution to the VA problem — we'll just have them get care in the community — overestimates the capacity the community has to absorb these folks," said Dr. Yul Ejnes of the American College of Physicians.

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