Daily Rounds: Harder-To-Get MA Docs; Patients Shunted To Suburbs; Mammogram Poll; Korean Autism 1 In 38

Mass. Doctors Not Seeing New Patients, Wait Times Lengthening | WBUR
BOSTON — If you thought the wait time to see a doctor was getting longer, you’re right. The latest survey from the Massachusetts Medical Society shows that finding an appointment in six of seven specialties is either harder this year or no better than last. If you’re a new patient and want to see a family physician, about half of all practices aren’t taking anyone new. If you have a public insurance plan, such as Medicare and Medicaid, then you may have some additional trouble receiving care. The report has serious implications for health care costs in the state, the doctors group said, because patients unable to see a primary care physician are likely to seek more expensive emergency room treatment. “Massachusetts has made great strides in securing insurance coverage for its citizens,” said the MMA’s president, Dr. Alice Coombs, referring to the state’s landmark 2006 universal health insurance law. “But insurance coverage doesn’t equal access to care,” she said. (WBUR | 90.9 FM)

And more on this from the Herald:
Many docs don’t care for state in$urance – BostonHerald.com
Wellesley Hills geriatrician Dr. Richard Dupee says he sees it all the time: Poor, sick and elderly people traveling from Boston to the suburbs, just to see a doctor. With so few Boston-area doctors willing to see new patients who pay with government-subsidized insurance, “people are always taking the T from Boston, to get to my office.” Dupee, who is president of the Massachusetts Geriatric Society, says that five years after the passage of the state’s landmark health-care reform law, getting to see a doctor hasn’t gotten easier. (Boston Herald)

Poll shows women in their 40s want mammograms, despite task force recommendations – USATODAY.com
A U.S. health task force stunned much of the medical world and many women in November 2009 by recommending that most women didn’t need to get their first mammogram until age 50. But a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds that women in their 40s want their mammograms, and two-thirds of them weren’t even aware of the task force’s recommendations. (yourlife.usatoday.com)

South Korean Study Uncovers Higher Rate of Autism – NYTimes.com
An ambitious six-year effort to gauge the rate of childhood autism in a middle-class South Korean city has yielded a figure that stunned experts and is likely to influence the way the disorder’s prevalence is measured around the world, scientists reported on Monday. The figure, 2.6 percent of all children aged 7 to 12 in the Ilsan district of the city of Goyang, is more than twice the rate usually reported in the developed world. Even that rate, about 1 percent, has been climbing rapidly in recent years — from 0.6 percent in the United States in 2007, for example. But experts said the findings did not mean that the actual numbers of children with autism were rising, simply that the study was more comprehensive than previous ones. (nytimes.com)

As a child undergoes treatments for a serious illness, parents may suffer, too – The Boston Globe
When cancer hits, parents must agree to treatment that often leaves their child weak, lethargic, bald, bloated, nauseous, and in pain. Last month, Kristen LaBrie of Beverly was found guilty of attempted murder for failing to give her son, Jeremy Fraser, drugs prescribed to help him fight a highly curable non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Jeremy, who was autistic, was removed from her custody in 2008; he died the next year at age 9. Prosecutors said LaBrie’s actions amounted to abuse. LaBrie’s case was extreme. But a comment she made on the stand resonated with some parents whose kids have faced cancer: In her mind, the treatment had become a bigger villain than the disease. (boston.com)

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