Skipping doctor's visits self-defeating

April 22, 2012 at 10:55 AM
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CHICAGO, April 22 (UPI) -- Three in 10 U.S. adults say they have skipped annual visits to their primary care physician or other healthcare provider to save money, a survey indicates.

The survey by the American Osteopathic Association found 1 in 4 respondents reported skipping or reducing visits to specialists recommended by a primary care physician, 1 in 5 respondents tried to reduce their spending on healthcare and more than one-quarter of respondents are seeking alternative or free sources of healthcare.

Rob Danoff, a board-certified osteopathic family physician practicing in Philadelphia, said he realizes cutting back on expenses might be necessary for people to remain fiscally fit, but decisions should not come at the expense of one's health.

"Annual and follow-up visits to your primary care physician should never be cut from your budget. Even if you don't feel sick, the routine screenings conducted during physical examinations can help detect the warning signs of heart disease or other illnesses," Danoff said in a statement.

"Armed with this knowledge, your physician can work with you to help prevent an illness before it starts and follow-up visits for ongoing or treated health concerns are important to ensure your personalized treatment plan is working."

The survey of 1,069 U.S. adults, conducted March 30 to April 2, has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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