(KCBS) – California is about to become the first state in the nation to regulate how long it should take patients to get a doctor’s appointment, or at least an evaluation.

Cindy Ehnes, Director of California’s Department of Managed Health Care, said people have been complaining about this for years, particularly how long it takes to see a specialist.

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

As of January 17th, it’s up to health plans to make sure patients don’t have to wait as long.  For example, not more than 10 days for primary care, 15 for a specialist, or 48 hours for most urgent care. If the doctor you call is busy, it’s up to the health plan to find another.

“One of the things that was made very clear to us is the doctor’s first and central concern is quality of care,” Ehnes said.

So doctors won’t be rushing through patients to get to the next one, she added. Rather the responsibility will be on the insurance providers.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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