Survey: Patients still cutting back on care

Patients may be skipping visits to your office, putting financial health before physical health. See who?s cutting back most?and what services they?re forgoing.

Three out of 10 patients may have skipped a visit to your office to save money, according to results of a survey by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

The AOA surveyed 1,069 people online March 30 to April 2. More than half of respondents said they considered their budgets first before making healthcare decisions, according to results. Other findings include:

One in three respondents is cutting back on spending by skipping or reducing follow-up visits to primary care physicians (PCPs) or other healthcare providers.

One in four respondents reported skipping or reducing visits to specialists who were recommended by a PCP or another provider.

Respondents who have been negatively affected by the economy were twice as likely to report reducing spending on healthcare.

More than one-quarter of respondents said they are seeking alternative or free sources of care.

Respondents whose health has been negatively affected by the economy were almost four times as likely as those whose health has not been affected to report skipping or reducing imaging tests to save money.

Women were more likely than men to report skipping or reducing imaging tests-including mammograms-to save money.

Respondents aged fewer than 60 years were about twice as likely as those aged at least 60 years to cut back on services to save money, including skipping or reducing blood work, lab tests, and physical therapy visits.

These survey results were released just a day before a separate survey by the Commonwealth Fund that showed one-fourth of adults aged 19 to 64 years experienced a gap in their health insurance in 2011, with a majority remaining uninsured for 1 year or more.

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