Nearly nine out of ten seniors switch their primary care physicians because they are forced to – not by choice. Thats the finding of research published in the November edition of The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice.
Analyzing survey data from nearly 800 patients 65 and older, researchers found that 14 percent of seniors changed physicians in a single year. Of those, almost nine out of 10 changed their physicians involuntarily. Insurance-related reasons accounted for 44 percent of the switches. Forty percent of the patients sought new physicians because their former doctors had moved, retired, or died.
"This study should raise concerns about changes in the health care system in recent years, including insurance and physician workforce instability," said James W. Mold, M.D., M.P.H., lead author. "Maintaining a long-term relationship with a primary care physician – what we call continuity of care – is associated with better health outcomes for patients at a lower cost. It also increases the likelihood patients will take their medications as directed and keep their medical appointments."
Maureen Maxwell | EurekAlert!
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