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American College of Surgeons Health Policy Research Institute Releases Surgery Workforce Atlas That Shows Surgeon Shortage Across the U.S.

Tue, 10/05/2010 - 7:33am
Bio-Medicine.Org

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- -- A new interactive, web-based map from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Health Policy Research Institute shows, county-by-county throughout the U.S., where shortages of surgeons and other physicians threaten patient access to timely, safe, high-quality and affordable care. The Surgery Workforce Atlas was released today during ACS's 96th Annual Clinical Congress in Washington. It can be found at http://www.acshpri.org/atlas.

"The number of surgeons needed to meet population demand for care falls short by as much as 30 percent, with general surgeons in especially short supply in small communities," said Thomas C. Ricketts, PhD, MPH, managing director of the ACS Health Policy Research Institute. "This website allows users to quickly identify the supply of surgeons in their county and compare it to all other counties in the U.S. This Atlas brings home the reality of access to surgical care and we hope it will help decision makers understand the needs some communities have for access to surgical care."

Although the growing shortage of health care workers is a national issue, its impact is uniquely local. For instance, the shortages are likely to hit areas with struggling economies or a lack of amenities that have made it difficult to attract and retain surgeons and other physicians. In fact, if counties who have lost all surgeons are unable to find replacements, the viability of their local hospitals may be jeopardized.

The new map shows the per capita levels for general surgeons, all surgical specialties combined, total physicians and primary care physicians by state and county throughout the U.S. This map also details by county and state recent workforce trends, such as percentage gains and losses in the various workforces.

While the county-level maps highlight where the surgeon supply appears to meet or fall short of "adequacy" estimates, th

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