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Pediatrics. 2005 Nov;116(5):1192-202. Epub 2005 Sep 30.

The pediatric subspecialty workforce: public policy and forces for change.

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  • 1Division of Graduate Medical Education and Pediatric Workforce, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, Illinois 60007, USA.


Policy has not adequately addressed the unique circumstances of pediatric subspecialties, many of which are facing workforce shortages. Pediatric subspecialties, which we define to include all medical and surgical subspecialties, are discrete disciplines that differ significantly from each other and from adult medicine subspecialties. Concerns about a current shortage of pediatric subspecialists overall are driven by indicators ranging from recruitment difficulties to long wait times for appointments. The future supply of pediatric subspecialists and patient access to pediatric subspecialty care will be affected by a number of key factors or forces for change. We discuss 5 of these factors: changing physician and patient demographics; debt load and lifestyle considerations; competition among providers of subspecialty care; equitable reimbursement for subspecialty services; and policy to regulate physician supply. We also identify issues and strategies that medical and specialty societies, pediatric subspecialists, researchers, child advocates, policy makers, and others should consider in the development of subspecialty-specific workforce-policy agendas.

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