Healthcare News & Insights

Feds drop plan to ‘snoop’ on docs

The Obama administration has scrapped plans to unleash so-called mystery shoppers to check on practices’ appointment schedules.

The idea was to have people call up various physician’s offices and ask if they’re accepting new patients, and if so, how long the wait for an initial appointment will be. The feds wanted to ensure that prospective patients are given better or worse treatment depending on what kind of insurance they have.

Previous reports have indicated that many practices delay — or sometimes deny — appointment slots to patients using public insurance.

According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services, the department wanted to better understand the growing access-to-care problem so that it can find solutions that work for both patients and doctors. But many doctors bristled at the idea of what they saw as government workers snooping on their business. In the wake of the negative feedback, the mystery shopper plan has been dropped. HHS says it’ll look for other ways to improve access to care.

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