FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5223
LEAWOOD, Kan. – The American Academy of Family Physicians released the results today ofa national survey that confirms the negative and potentially serious impact the recession ishaving on Americans’ access to health care.The national poll of AAFP members shows that nearly 90 percent of the family physicianssurveyed reported their “patients have expressed concerns recently over their ability to pay fortheir health care needs.” In fact, 58 percent said they had “seen an increase in appointmentcancellations.” Furthermore, 60 percent reported they had “seen more health problems caused bytheir patients forgoing needed preventive care.”In addition, the survey found:
“The survey found that patients are canceling or deferring important preventive screenings suchas pap smears, mammograms and colonoscopies,” said Ted Epperly, MD, AAFP president.“They also are failing to return for recommended follow-up visits or refill medications that arevital to managing their chronic conditions. Rather than forgoing needed medication altogether,some patients opt to cut their prescriptions, without their physician’s knowledge, to make themlast longer.”Despite these cost-cutting measures, the economic environment is still causing anxiety amongpatients and is leading them to discuss other health care options with their physician.“The AAFP supports health care coverage for all Americans regardless of their employmentstatus or socioeconomic status,” he continued. “To achieve that goal and provide better care forall Americans in a cost-efficient manner, we must move toward a health care system based onenhanced primary care.”The AAFP survey provides further evidence that consumers often defer health care during arecession. Health care is the largest sector of the economy, and people get sick no matter what’shappening on Wall Street. However, even the health care industry ails in tough economic timeswhen some families are forced to prioritize rent or mortgage payments and food over health careservices, Epperly said.For an executive summary of the survey and other related materials, please visitwww.aafp.org/media/economy.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 115,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is nearly 214 million office visits each year — nearly 74 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).
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May 19, 2009