15 cities ranked by wait times for a new patient appointment

Portland, Ore., residents can expect to wait 40 days, on average, to be seen as a new patient in physician offices. New Yorkers can plan to wait nearly half as long.  

The findings come from AMN/Merritt Hawkins' 2022 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare and Medicaid Acceptance Rates. 

Researchers for AMN/Merritt Hawkins contacted physician offices in 15 major metropolitan areas from March through mid-May to schedule a new patient appointment. Researchers focused on five medical specialties: cardiology, dermatology, obstetrics-gynecology, orthopedic surgery and family medicine. First appointment times were obtained from a total of 1,034 distinct physician offices. 

Eight key takeaways: 

  1. The average wait time for a physician appointment for the 15 large metro markets surveyed in 2022 is 26 days, an 8 percent increase from the 24.1 day average in 2017 and a 24 percent increase from the 20.9 day average in 2004. 
  2. Portland has the highest average new patient physician appointment wait time — 45.6 days — across all five specialties of the metro markets surveyed. 
  3. New York has the lowest average new patient physician appointment wait time — 17.4 days — across all five specialties of the metro markets surveyed.
  4. The average wait time to see an obstetrician-gynecologist is 31.4 days, up 19 percent from 26.4 days in 2017. 
  5. The average wait time to see a dermatologist is 34.5 days, up 7 percent from 32.3 days in 2017.
  6. The average wait time to see a cardiologist is 26.6 days, up 26 percent from 21.1 days in 2017.
  7. The average wait to see an orthopedic surgeon is 16.9 days, up 48 percent from 11.4 days in 2017.
  8. The average wait time to see a family medicine physician is 20.6 days, down 30 percent from 29.3 days in 2017.

Metro areas ranked by the average wait time for an appointment across 5 specialties 

Portland: 45.6 days 
Boston: 33.8 days 
Minneapolis: 30.8 days
San Diego: 30.2 days 
Miami: 29.2 days 
Philadelphia: 28.2
Seattle: 28.2
Denver: 26.8 days 
Los Angeles: 22.2 days 
Dallas: 21 days 
Atlanta: 20.2 days 
Houston: 20.2
Detroit: 18.8
Washington, D.C.: 18 days 
New York: 17.4 days 

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