Search term is required Close Search

Two in Five Americans Report Unreasonable Health Care Wait Times

New Survey Finds 26% of Patients Wait Two or More Months for Care

Media Contact: Bryan Black

AUSTIN, TEXAS — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP), the nation’s largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioner (NPs), today released the results of a new national survey of U.S. adults conducted in April 2023 that found more than 40% of respondents have experienced a “longer than reasonable” wait for health care. According to the survey, nearly half of those who experienced unreasonable wait times gave up seeking an appointment and did not receive care. This includes patients seeking critical mental health services.

“These results are an eye-opening look at the state of access to care in our health care 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. 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.”

Among those surveyed, 26% reported waiting more than two months to gain access to a health care provider. This situation extends across all major demographics, including age, gender and education, and it impacts access to care in all geographic areas, including rural, suburban and urban settings. Those most likely to give up on seeing a provider after a lengthy wait include younger adults, people living in urban areas and respondents who reported their ethnicity as Hispanic.

“As a nation, we can solve the growing crisis in access to care by modernizing the outdated policies that sideline NPs from delivering care they are educated and clinically prepared to provide,” said AANP Chief Executive Officer Jon Fanning MS, CAE, CNED. “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.”

AANP supports modernizing policies to ensure people across the nation have full and direct access to the high-quality health care NPs provide. Giving patients the freedom to choose their health care provider is the first step in ensuring that, as a nation, we improve access to care and increase positive health outcomes for all.


The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 355,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs' patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate an NP in your community, visit For more information about NPs, visit

Committed to supporting you in all areas of your career with a wealth of practice resources.