California limits appointment wait times

February 19, 2010

Ten business days is the most time California private health plan members will have to wait for a non-urgent appointment with a primary care physician.

Ten business days is the most time California private health plan members will have to wait for a non-urgent appointment with a primary care physician, according to a regulation that took effect in January.

California's "Timely Access" regulations require appointments for the state's 21 million health plan members to be scheduled within certain time frames.

The burden of compliance, however, falls on the health plan, not the doctor, according to a statement from the state's Department of Managed Health Care.

A 2009 study by physician placement firm Merritt Hawkins found that in Los Angeles, new PPO and HMO patients wait an average of 59 days to see a family practice physician.