Hempstead's remarks were borne out by another report, issued Thursday by Vitals, a company that helps consumers find doctors. It said that even with some newly insured patients from Obamacare, patients overall weren't seeing longer wait times on average nationally as of this year.
In fact, Vitals' annual Physician Wait Time Report found that the average wait times for visits to the doctor dropped to 19 minutes and 16 seconds in 2015, "a full one-minute shorter than the 2014 wait time average."
"In fact, wait times for primary care doctors, the doctors Americans see the most, were generally down over one minute [one minute, 11 seconds] in a year-over-year comparison," according to the report.
The Vitals report said several factors could be contributing to the decline in wait times, including urgent care centers and retail clinics being used more, which would relieve traffic from visits to primary care doctors. Vitals said medical providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants "may also be easing doctor caseloads."
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The two reports come a month after an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund estimated that, even if all states expanded Medicaid, demand for health-care services would increase only slightly. The Commonwealth Fund analysis estimated that the number of annual primary care visits would rise 3.8 percent nationally.
One caveat to the studies comes from Susan DeVore, the president and CEO of Premier, a health-care improvement company that has an alliance with 3,400 hospitals. DeVore said data suggests Obamacare may be having a bigger effect in hospitals than in doctors' offices.
Premier has access to 1 in 3 patient discharges in the U.S., and it appears that "quarterly discharges in both the hospital in-patient and out-patient settings [are] at their highest levels in two years."