Jul 03, 2011
The Obama administration has decided to halt plans to survey physicians offices largely due to negative feedback that the administration has received and the longterm political implications. Issues that affect Americans only change when individuals voice their feedback in forums like we have here on Medhelp. However, this is not the last of this issue. Please share via facebook and twitter this posting to continue to grow the feedback on this issue. Regardless of how people feel about the core issue, most don't like the "spying" connotation. We all know that if they are spying on our neighbor, they are probably spying on us.
Administration Halts Survey of Making Doctor Visits
By ROBERT PEAR
Published: June 28, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Tuesday that it had shelved plans for a survey in which “mystery shoppers” posing as patients would call doctors’ offices to see how difficult it was to get appointments.
U.S. Plans Stealth Survey on Access to Doctors (June 27, 2011) “We have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project,” the Department of Health and Human Services said late Tuesday.
The decision, after criticism from doctors and politicians, represents an abrupt turnabout. On Sunday night, officials at the health department and the White House staunchly defended the survey as a way to measure access to primary care, and insisted that it posed no threat to privacy.
Health policy experts have long expressed concern about a shortage of primary care doctors, including family physicians and internists. The shortage, they say, could become more serious if, as President Obama hopes, more than 30 million people gain insurance coverage under the health care law passed last year.
Having coverage is not the same as having ready access to care — a fact demonstrated in Massachusetts, which has come closer than any other state to the goal of universal coverage. A recent survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society found that about half of family doctors and internists were not accepting new patients.
Plans for the federal survey were devised by the office of the assistant health secretary for planning and evaluation, Sherry A. Glied, and the government retained a big survey research company to help conduct it. Ms. Glied declined Tuesday to respond to questions about cancellation of the survey.
Administration officials evidently concluded that the survey could be a political liability. But Christian J. Stenrud, a Health and Human Services spokesman, said, “Politics did not play a role in the decision” Tuesday.
Doctors and many Republican lawmakers criticized the project, after a New York Times article about it on Monday.
“The cost and proposed clandestine method of collecting information from physician offices are questionable,” said a letter to the administration drafted Monday by Senator Mark Steven Kirk, Republican of Illinois. Mr. Kirk demanded answers to 12 questions about the survey.
Mr. Kirk asked why the survey was needed, since, he said, “there have been a number of reputable studies that confirmed many patients on Medicaid and Medicare cannot find a doctor to see them.”
Source NY Times.com