Monetary and Nonmonetary Costs to Patients Attending an Ambulatory Dermatology Clinic
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BACKGROUND: Despite universal coverage under a provincial health plan, the residents of Ontario, Canada, still bear some costs for outpatient care, particularly for prescription drugs. OBJECTIVE: To determine the financial and nonmonetary costs borne by patients presenting at a dermatology clinic in an academic centre, and to assess the extent to which these costs were problematic. METHODS: Consecutive new patients in a 6-week period completed a self-administered questionnaire. RESULTS: Eighty-six of 140 questionnaires (61%) were returned for analysis. The mean total cost to patients was C$28.92 (range $0 to $177.00). Medications were the largest expense (mean $35.66 for those receiving medication). Despite relatively prompt referrals (mean 12.4 days) and short in-office waiting time (mean 26.5 minutes), there was a trend for subjects to rate time costs as more problematic than monetary costs. CONCLUSION: Patients attending a dermatology clinic bear variable monetary and nonmonetary costs. For some patients these costs may have the potential to impair access to care.
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