JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Access to good and affordable health care is the No. 1 concern of Americans today, trumping national security, national debt, improving the quality of education, gun violence and protecting privacy rights, according to a survey recently conducted for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
The survey, conducted by Morpace Market Research and Consulting, captured opinions from 1,000 consumers across the United States ages 21 years to 64 years old with health insurance. Respondents answered questions about different types of healthcare providers, access and cost. Significant findings include:
- More than 50% of consumers believe there are not enough physicians to provide health care;
- More than 40% are concerned about being able to get appointments when they need them;
- More than 41% experience long wait times in the doctor’s office;
- More than 20% are treated but not educated about their health care; and
- More than 94% are willing to be seen by a physician assistant instead of a physician.
While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is designed to improve access for the previously uninsured or underinsured, this survey shows that those who already have health insurance are concerned about what the future holds, with almost half (47.3%) expecting their healthcare costs to increase, and 51% indicating they believe there will be too few healthcare providers to meet patients’ needs over the coming decade.
“Improving the affordability of health insurance for the previously uninsured is clearly an admirable aim, but as millions of newly insured begin to seek more care and as the boomers continue to age and consume more healthcare services, people are understandably worried that there will not be a doctor readily available when they need one,” said NCCPA board chairman James Cannon. “Certified physician assistants are a big part of solving the issue of access to health care, as they can do most things a doctor can do. As more patients enter the market seeking health care, PAs are well positioned to meet these demands by providing high-quality care and educating patients on how to best manage and improve their own health.”
“The model for health care going forward is to deliver the right care at the right time at the right cost,” Cannon said. “Certified physician assistants are key players in this complex equation, delivering quality patient care and cost-effective outcomes in every specialty and clinical setting in the United States.”
When asked what factors are most important when considering to whom to entrust their health care, the most often cited responses mentioned qualifications, certification, knowledge and competence. Other often-cited factors included willingness to listen, communication skills and availability.