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Shortage of rheumatologists -- In some US regions closest doctor may be 200 miles away
Date:11/26/2013

A novel study published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal, Arthritis & Rheumatism, shows that smaller micropolitan areas of the U.S.those with less than 50,000 peoplehave very few or no practicing adult rheumatologist. In some of these areas, individuals have to travel more than 200 miles to reach the closest rheumatologist.

A 2005 ACR workforce study examining the number of adult practicing rheumatologists in the United States estimated there to be roughly 1.7 adult rheumatologists per 100,000 persons. At the time the demand for services and number of rheumatologists were proportionate. However, with the aging U.S. population and lack of growth in the number of rheumatologists, experts projected that by 2010 there would be a shortage of 400 rheumatologists and that number would climb to 2,500 by 2025.

Led by Dr. John FitzGerald from UCLA Rheumatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA, a team of researchersmembers of the ACR Committee on Rheumatology Training and Workforce Issuesanalyzed the distribution of rheumatology practices across the U.S. using the ACR membership database. The number of rheumatologists were totaled for each Core Based Statistical Areaa way to categorize geographic regions of the U.S. that includes micropolitan and metropolitan areas. Socio-demographics associated with each CBSA cluster of rheumatologists were examined.

Results show that in 2010 there were 3,920 practicing rheumatologists in the ACR database, with 90% practicing in metropolitan regions, 3% in micropolitan areas, and 7% in rural parts of the country. In populations with less than 50,000 people there was limited access to a practicing rheumatologist, with travel to the nearest practice in 50 of the 479 micropolitan areas being more than 100 miles. Several regions with populations of 200,000 or more were also found to have no practicing rheumatologist in the area. Researchers did report a higher
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Contact: Dawn Peters
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley
Source:Eurekalert

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