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Mississippians Have Longest Wait Time In Doctor’s Offices

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 08 Jun 2012 04:33pm | comments

Patients who want to see their doctor in Mississippi spend more time in the waiting room than any other state in the country. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports a shortage of doctors has led to longer waits.

A television in the waiting room of a doctor’s office in Ridgeland plays an episode of the Price is Right.

That is where Nikki Davis is waiting with her twins to see her doctor.

"These are my kids Tristan Williams and Trinity Williams. They are three," Davis said.

Davis says she always prepares for a long wait at the doctor’s office by packing snacks for the kids and clearing her schedule.

"Pack snacks and make sure i have cell phone and make sure they have everything they need. Wipes and a change of clothing and everything like that. With everything going, I just prepare myself to wait," davis said.

And she is not alone.

A new survey of 700-thousand patients by the doctor rating web site vitals.com, found that Mississippians wait an average 25-minutes in the waiting room to see their doctor.

Mitch Rothschild with vitals says that is 4 minutes longer than the national average and ten minutes longer than the shortest wait.

"Mississippi itself has among the fewest primary care doctors pre-100-thousand population in the United States. The average is about 91 primary care doctors per-100-thousand. Mississippi has 63. SO as you might expect there are fewer doctors so the wait times will be longer," Rothschild said.

Rothschild says it is surprising that there are one-third fewer doctors in Mississippi yet only a slightly longer wait time than the national average...meaning doctors in Mississippi are likely seeing more patients faster.

At the doctor's office in Ridgeland, Doctor Tim Quinn says he tries to stream line his process to see patients with as little wait as possible.

"Say someone has diabetes, well we are going to go ahead and check their glucose. We are going to check their A1C. The bottom line is whatever medical condition they have, my nurses are trained to go ahead and do the necessary testing. So When I get in the room those things have already been done. And that cuts the wait time tremendously," Quinn said.

Doctor Quinn sees 30-to-40 patients in an average 8 hour day.

The doctor rating site vitals.com does not conclude if the longer wait times affect the quality of care.



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