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California wants to end doctor office waiting

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

January 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The State of California is trying to get doctors to be more responsive to patients.On Wednesday, January 20, the Department of Managed Health Care is expected to announce a limit on how long patients have to wait for an appointment.

The new guideline is 10 business days to see a family practitioner.

The deadline is 15 days to see a specialist, and 48 hours for people seeking urgent care.

The guidelines will make California the first state to limit the time patients have to wait to see a doctor.

It also says doctors' offices must return telephone calls within 30 minutes.

The time limits apply only to doctors in health maintenance organizations.

The new guidelines are based on a 2002 state law calling for timely access to medical care.

The final numbers were worked out in negotiations with doctors, hospitals, HMO's, and consumer groups.

The new rules will take effect next year.

City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.