Access to Healthcare a Concern in QC Health Assessment
When I moved to the Quad Cities about a year ago I didn't think finding a new doctor was going to be that difficult. I thought it would be as simple as calling up the office of the physician I wanted to see and making an appointment. Yeah it wasn't that simple.
A couple of the physicians I was interested in seeing weren't taking new patients. Then another asked me to fill out a health assessment form. Then I didn't hear anything. I really wanted to see this one physician so I filled out the assessment again. Then I got a piece of mail from the doctor. I was sure it was the thank you but we can't take you on as a patient letter. Not so, after two months of fits and starts, I had a doctor . It was the welcome letter inviting me to make an appointment "as soon as possible." My wife had similar issues finding her doctor.
We wondered to ourselves whether or not there was a shortage of doctors in the area. Neither of us had any issues finding physicians in other places we lived. This was just different. The 2018 Community Health Assessment for the Quad Cities sheds some light on the issue.
KWQC's report on the assessment says "Access to health services in particular is a problem for many in the Quad Cities and specifically access to a primary care physician. There are fewer primary care physicians working in the Q.C. than the average community in the U.S. For every 100,000 Q.C. residents, there are only 72 primary care physicians. The national average is 87."
That's 15 less doctors for every 100,000 residents. I have some health concerns that require medication and regular care from a doctor so I was motivated to find someone to see. Not finding a doctor wasn't an option.
If I didn't have those health concerns I might have given up trying to find one. I bet many people do just that until their forced to deal with a health issue. Add in those people where the cost of seeing a doctor is another barrier. It becomes a pretty big quality of life issue for our cities. I hope health officials tackle this problem.
If you haven't been to the doctor in a few years. Bite the bullet and find one. The hassle of finding one now, is easier than finding one after you've been to the emergency room or in the hospital for a health issue. Might be cheaper too if a doctor's visit prevents an emergency room or hospital visit.