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Fed Gov’t Approves Covert Study of Access to Primary Care

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The federal government is planning what has been termed as a “stealth survey” of predominantly primary care delivery systems in order to determine access-to-care data. The Obama administration is hoping that using actors posing as patients in achieving this goal will shed light on this issue in the wake of full scale reform within the next few years. Needless to say, many physicians are upset about it.

The federal government is planning what has been termed as a “stealth survey” of predominantly primary care delivery systems in order to determine access-to-care data. The Obama administration is hoping that using actors posing as patients in achieving this goal will shed light on this issue in the wake of full scale reform within the next few years. Needless to say, many physicians are upset about it.

“I don’t like the idea of the government snooping,” said Dr. Raymond Scalettar, an internist in Washington. “It’s a pernicious practice — Big Brother tactics, which should be opposed.” … According to government documents obtained from Obama administration officials, the mystery shoppers will call medical practices and ask if doctors are accepting new patients and, if so, how long the wait would be.

Further, the government as Big Brother in this case, will try to gauge those wait time findings with follow-up questions on the type of coverage those “mystery shoppers” possess in order to discover any influences on access times therein. The cacophony among doctors in this case is wholly justified. Use of taxpayer monies for this type of research amounts to no more than survey data obtained in a very subjective and apparently non-standardized way to confirm what is already known about access-to-care. What is needed is a better use of these appropriated funds (the feds say the initial survey would cost $347,370) targeted toward increasing the absolute numbers of primary care physicians in the workforce. | LINK

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