Poll: Tennesseans put a lot of faith in pharmacists

Published 5:24 pm Monday, October 30, 2023

THE CENTER SQUARE

Tennessee voters would support allowing licensed pharmacists to treat common illnesses such as strep throat or the flu and would consider visiting a pharmacist for such treatment, according to a new poll.

The Beacon Center, a nonprofit policy center that supports free market solutions to public policy, polled 1,181 potential Tennessee voters and found they were open to expanded responsibilities for pharmacists.

Of those who earlier said they would not use the service 11% said they would visit a pharmacist if the cost were significantly less than visiting a doctor.

The poll showed government regulations (24%), pharmaceutical companies (23%) and patients’ overuse of services (7%) were the most-blamed reasons for high health care costs in the United States.

Tennessee residents (45%) said that they support changing certificate of need regulations that mean health care providers need government permission to open new hospitals or clinics while 13% oppose changing those regulations.

When asked about telemedicine, 37% said they have heard of it but never used it while 20% have used it a few times with a positive experience, 16% are unfamiliar with telemedicine and 15% have used it but prefer in-person visits.

Of those who haven’t used telemedicine, 63% are uninterested in trying it in the future while 26% are interested.

Next, the poll asked how Tennessee residents rate the hospitals available in their area with 39% saying it is excellent or above average, 37% rating it average and 23% below average.

The ratings for doctors’ offices were similar with 36% above average, 48% average and 14% below average. For mental health services, however, the ratings were 12% above average, 26% average, 29% below average and 32% unsure.

Of those polled, 45% said they avoid going to see a doctor due to the potential cost while 34% said they did not avoid doctors for financial reasons.

The poll also showed that 67% believe that mental high issues for kids and teenagers are an issue in their area while 7% believe it is not an issue and 14% are unsure.