Potemkin Protections: Assessing Provider Directory Accuracy and Timely Access for Four Specialties in California

Abigail Burman, Simon F. Haeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Context: The accuracy of provider directories and whether consumers can schedule timely appointments are crucial determinants of health access and outcomes. Methods:We evaluated accuracy and timely access data obtained fromthe CaliforniaDepartment of Managed Health Care, consisting of responses to large, random, representative surveys of primary care providers, cardiologists, endocrinologists, and gastroenterologists for 2018 and 2019 for all managed care plans in California. Findings: Surveys were able to verify provider directory entries for the four specialties for 59% to 76% of listings or 78% to 88% of providers reached. We found that consumers were able to schedule urgent care appointments for 28% to 54% of listings or 44% to 72% of accurately listed providers. For general care appointments, the percentages ranged from 35% to 64% of listed providers or 51% to 87% of accurately listed providers. Differences across markets related to accuracy were generally small. Medi-Cal plans outperformed othermarketswith regard to timely access. Primary care consistently outperformed all other specialties. Timely access rates were higher for general appointments than for urgent care appointments. Conclusions: Our finding raise questions about the regulatory regime as well as consumer access and health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-349
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of health politics, policy and law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy


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