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2 in 5 Americans Report 'Unreasonable' Waits for Healthcare, AANP Says

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   July 12, 2023

26% of patients wait two or more months to see a healthcare provider.

More than 40% of respondents have experienced “unreasonable wait times” wait times for healthcare, with more than 25% of those patients waiting more than two months for healthcare, according to a new survey released today by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

As a result, many went without needed care, including patients seeking critical mental health services, according to the survey, conducted in April 2023 of U.S. adults.

"These results are an eye-opening look at the state of access to care in our healthcare system," said AANP President Stephen Ferrara, DNP.

"A lack of timely access to care, particularly primary and preventive care, can lead to chronic conditions that put patients' lives in danger and increase costs," he said. "Delayed or deferred care can put an individual's health at greater risk for complications, which may also lead to a negative impact on mental health and lost wages for those patients. A decline in productivity for employers may also occur."

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • The increase in wait times extends across almost all major demographics—age, gender, education, and in rural/urban/suburban areas.
  • Among those with longer waits, nearly half gave up trying to get an appointment.
  • Those most likely to give up on seeing a provider include younger, urban, Hispanic, and mental healthcare patients.

Granting full practice authority (FPA) to NPs is one solution to eliminating long wait times, AANP has long championed.

FPA is the authorization of NPs to evaluate patients, diagnose, order, and interpret diagnostic tests, and initiate and manage treatments under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing.

This regulatory framework eliminates requirements for NPs to hold a state-mandated contract with a physician as a condition of state licensure and to provide patient care.

Momentum for FPA increased during the pandemic, when states temporarily suspended practice agreements and allowed NPs to practice at the top of their education, giving patients direct access to care.

"As a nation, we can solve the growing crisis in access to care by modernizing the outdated policies that sideline NPs from delivering care they are educated and clinically prepared to provide," said Jon Fanning, MS, CAE, CNED, the association’s CEO. "We can help shorten wait times and give patients timely access to the care they need by removing barriers to America's 355,000 NPs."

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


26% of patients wait two or more months for care.

Delayed or deferred care can put an individual's health at greater risk for complications.

One solution is granting full practice authority to NPs.

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