Just saw a NYT article on this subject that reminded us that experts are suggesting more doctors. And some medical columns suggest alleviating the shortage by opening the gates (raising the bar?) to more doctors educated outside the states.
My favorite doctor of my life was educated in Canada. He goes to the trouble of learning what works and what doesn't, and who gives great care, or doesn't. Another favorite doctor of mine continued his education after coming to the US in two specialties. My first time in his waiting room, another patient said: "You have the good doctor!"
But a doctor I'm thinking of leaving was not educated in this country. And in my post about inadvisable surgical Bc biopsy, I noted that a survey had found one characteristic of doctors overusing this procedure is that they are educated outside this country.
So the quality care situation leaves me thinking that continuing to learn after arriving in the US is a factor. And perhaps you suspect, as I do, that the other main factor in good care is the doctor's personal decision to learn continually what works.
Dare I suggest that doctors get enough information before they recommend a doctor new to the US (or any other doctor.) Using the same hospital is not enough information.
Another doctor shortage factor: I amazed to learn how many intelligent people think all doctors, not just certain specialists, are getting rich. Primary doctors were having a hard time and getting poorer when I worked at CAP in the nineties. And they're leaving their practice of medicine.
So: What should I be doing about long waits to get an appointment?
1. Writing to the White House to get more pay and less keyboard "paperwork" for primary care doctors, so the good ones won't continue to leave medicine!
2. Writing to everybody I can think of to insist that doctors coming to the states are examined, trained here in methods that work, and monitored.
3. Asking for referral to a different specialist if I have specific doubts about the current one.
4. Then praying that doctors who were trained here are still learning what works.