KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Long Waits For Medical Attention Are Normal In Many Parts Of U.S.

The New York Times reports on what it calls the health care system's "waiting game." 

The New York Times: The Health Care Waiting Game
One small consolation of our high-priced health care system -- our $2.7 trillion collective medical bill -- has been the notion that at least we get medical attention quickly. ... Yet there is emerging evidence that lengthy waits to get a doctor’s appointment have become the norm in many parts of American medicine, particularly for general doctors but also for specialists. And that includes patients with private insurance as well as those with Medicaid or Medicare (Rosenthal, 7/5).

In other news about the health care system --

The Associated Press: No Practicing On Patients:  New Docs Instead Get Boot Camp
First-day jitters come with any new job but when the work involves pushing needles into strangers' bellies, stitching up gaping wounds or even delivering babies, that debut can be especially nerve-wracking -- for everyone involved. Brand-new doctors often launch right into patient care within weeks of graduating from medical school. To make sure their skills are up to snuff, many medical schools and hospitals run crash courses in the basics for these new interns. It's called boot camp at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and its adjoining Feinberg medical school, a program involving two to three days of intense practice before letting the newbies loose on patients. Young doctors are tested on a variety of skills, from the proper technique for handling newborns during childbirth -- make sure the head comes out slowly -- to delivering bad news -- use empathy, eye contact and listen to the patient. More than 90 percent pass the first time. The rest are tested again until they do (Tanner, 7/7).

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