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Survey reveals 87 percent of Michigan primary care doctors have capacity to take new patients; 64 percent taking new Medicaid patients

December 17, 2014 | Publication

A 2014 Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) survey of Michigan primary care doctors shows that the great majority – close to 9 out of 10 physicians – have capacity to accept more patients, quieting concerns about meeting increased demand as more people continue to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

In particular, the survey reveals that considerably more primary care physicians in Michigan are accepting Medicaid patients in 2014 compared to 2012. Specifically, 64 percent of primary care doctors accepted new Medicaid patients in 2014, compared to 54 percent in 2012.

“The survey shows that physicians across the state can take on more patients, enabling greater access to health care,” says Marianne Udow-Phillips, director, CHRT. “This is great news for Michigan residents with the Healthy Michigan coverage as well as those with private coverage.

The survey also shows that physicians practicing less than 10 years had more capacity (98 percent) than those who have been in practice more than 10 years. Though even most of those (84 percent) who have been in practice for 10 years or more have capacity for more patients. This could be an indication that the ACA is positively affecting newer physicians’ practices.

“We know that Michigan’s Medicaid expansion has enabled many residents to afford care. The enrollment of more than 470,000 residents in Healthy Michigan in 2014 exceeded all expectations,” says Udow-Phillips. “And more than 270,000 residents enrolled in coverage through the ACA’s Individual Marketplace, also exceeding expectations.”

“Now, the survey results show that our predictions prior to implementation of the ACA coverage expansion were correct: most Michigan residents should be able to access primary care,” says Udow-Phillips.

The survey data presented in this brief were produced from a mail survey of 1,000 primary care physicians practicing in Michigan, conducted between December 2013 and April 2014. The full survey brief can be found at http://chrt.sites.uofmhosting.net/primary-care-capacity-in-michigan-2014/.