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New Trend Data Shows Access to Surgical Care at Risk in Rural and Urban Areas of the United States
Date:3/24/2009

American College of Surgeons Health Policy Institute issues advance findings of study on migration of surgeons

WASHINGTON, March 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American College of Surgeons Health Policy Institute will highlight new research today that indicates the shortage of general surgeons has raised concerns about the access to care for underserved and rapidly aging populations in pockets of both rural and urban areas of the United States. Findings from the new, unpublished study, "Migration of Surgeons," will be shared today at a panel discussion on the issue of patient access to quality surgical care, put on by Operation Patient Access, a new campaign formed by surgical groups and other key health care stakeholders.

The report found that surgeons are moving to areas with already established medical communities, which could lead to local shortages, particularly in areas of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. While the federal government offers various incentives to influence primary care physicians to practice in underserved areas, general surgeons are not part of the program. Only recently has the supply of surgeons and the effect of their migration patterns been studied.

"Our data shows that over the past decade surgeons moved more frequently than all other physicians and tended to relocate to areas with higher concentrations of established physicians. This is the opposite of that seen for physicians in general, who were more likely to move to areas with less competition," said Thomas C. Ricketts, PhD, MPH, Co-Director of the American College of Surgeons Health Policy Institute and professor, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. "If this trend continues, the need for surgeons in rural and urban underserved areas, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, may increase significantly."

Drawing on data gathered in prior studi
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SOURCE American College of Surgeons
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