Study Reveals Growing Threat of OB-GYN Shortages
The U.S. faces growing shortage in obstetricians and gynecologists (OB-GYN) due to a maturing workforce and coming retirement wave, according to a study just released by medical social network Doximity.
This report, “2018 OB-GYN Workforce Study,” examined significant factors impacting the specialty, including high maternity workloads that vary dramatically across major metro areas, an insufficient number of younger practicing OB-GYNs and private vs. government insurance coverage – to help assess whether compensation is keeping pace with growing workloads.
By cross-referencing these factors, Doximity researchers have developed a composite index score to identify the cities with the highest risk of OB-GYN shortages nationally.
Here are the top 10 MSAs most likely to suffer a shortage of OB-GYNs in coming years:
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Orlando, Fla.
- Riverside, Calif.
- St. Louis
- Salt Lake City
- Sacramento, Calif.
- Tampa, Fla.
The study also found that the national average age of U.S. OB-GYNs is 51 years old. This is a critical point, as most OB-GYNs begin to retire at age 59, with the median retirement age being 64 years old, according to research by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). OB-GYNs tend to retire younger than most physicians due to the demanding nature of obstetrics.
Additional findings include:
A seven-fold variation in maternity workloads: Doximity compared the number of OB-GYNs with the number of live births in the top 50 MSAs.
- The metros with the largest number of births per OB-GYN are: St Louis (247); Riverside, Calif. (237); Las Vegas(164); Phoenix (135) and Houston (135).
- The metros with the smallest number of births per OB-GYN are: Ann Arbor, Mich. (32); New Haven, Conn. (52); Hartford, Conn. (53); Bridgeport, Conn. (54); and Louisville, Ky. (64)
The retirement wave of OB-GYNs is rising: In many areas, a large portion of the OB-GYN population is nearing the average age of retirement.
- The metros with the highest percentage of OB-GYNs who are 55 years old and older are: Pittsburgh; Virginia Beach, Va.; Cincinnati; Salt Lake City; and Bridgeport, Conn.
- The metros with the lowest percentage of OB-GYNs who are 55 years old and older are: Houston; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Charleston, S.C.
A shortage of younger doctors: Only 16 percent of all U.S. OB-GYNs are 40 years old or younger, while 36 percent are 55 years old or older.
- The metros with the highest percentage of OB-GYNs who are 40 years old and younger are: Ann Arbor, Mich.; Houston; Minneapolis; Cincinnati; and Denver.
- The metros with the lowest percentage of OB-GYNs who are 40 years old and younger are: Las Vegas; Bridgeport, Conn.; Detroit; St. Louis; and Hartford, Conn.
- Correlations between sources of insurance and OB-GYN workloads: Around 50 percent of all births in the U.S. are covered by Medicaid programs.
The metros with the highest percentage of births financed through Medicaid are: Riverside, Calif.; Miami, Los Angeles; New Orleans; and Houston. The metros with the lowest percentage of births financed through Medicaid are: Ann Arbor, Mich.; Washington, D.C.; San Jose, Calif.; Minneapolis; and Salt Lake City.
To read the full report, visit doximity.com
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