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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013 Oct;471(10):3074-81. doi: 10.1007/s11999-013-3131-3. Epub 2013 Jun 26.

Longitudinal urban-rural discrepancies in the US orthopaedic surgeon workforce.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, Yale Physicians Building, 800 Howard Avenue, 1st Floor, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It is unclear whether the supply of orthopaedic surgeons can meet the needs of a growing and aging population. This may be especially concerning in rural areas where there are known disparities in overall healthcare provision.

QUESTIONS/PURPOSES:

We therefore (1) determined urban-rural trends in the US physician and orthopaedic workforce (including the age of that workforce) from 1995 to 2010; (2) geographically mapped the physician and orthopaedic distribution; and (3) examined urban-rural changes in select nonorthopaedic musculoskeletal provider (chiropractor and podiatrist) workforces from 2000 to 2010.

METHODS:

County-level provider data from 1995 to 2010 were obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services. This was aggregated to Hospital Referral Regions and ranked by Rural-Urban Continuum Code. Hospital Referral Region-level data were mapped to identify geographic trends. Total physician and orthopaedic surgeon workforce data were averaged across the most urban and rural regions for the study period.

RESULTS:

There were urban-rural discrepancies in the physician and orthopaedic workforce from 1995 to 2010 with fewer orthopaedic surgeons in rural areas than urban areas (6.52 versus 8.73 per 100,000 in 2010; p=0.001). Furthermore, orthopaedic surgeons in rural areas were older than their urban counterparts, with a workforce age ratio (age>55: age<55 years) of 0.92 versus 0.65 in 2010 (p=0.024). From 2000 to 2010, the rural chiropractor and podiatrist workforces showed tremendous growth of 229.6% and 279.9%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

There were significant urban-rural orthopaedic surgeon workforce discrepancies from 1995 to 2010. Concurrent growth in chiropractor and podiatrist numbers shows significant trends in the musculoskeletal provider workforce that warrant continuing observation and analysis.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level IV, economic and decision analyses. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

PMID:
23801063
PMCID:
PMC3773137
DOI:
10.1007/s11999-013-3131-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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