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Which Pediatricians Are Providing Care to America's Children? An Update On the Trends and Changes During the Past 26 Years

Authors: 
Freed GL, Dunham KM, Gebremariam A, Wheeler JR; Research Advisory Committee of the American Board of Pediatrics
Year: 
2010
Journal: 
Journal of Pediatrics
Pub Med #: 
Abstract: 

Objective
To determine the current proportion of pediatric primary care and specialty visits being conducted by pediatricians versus other providers.

Study Design
We used data from 1980-2006 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys (NAMCS) to examine trends in office visits by patients 0 to 17 years of age. During our years of interest, the total number of visits in NAMCS by children ranged from 2597 to 9220 per year.

Results
Overall, the percentage of all nonsurgical physician office visits for children 0 to 17 years of age made to general pediatricians increased from 61% in 1996 to 71% in 2006 and those to nonpediatric generalists fell from 28% to 22%. The greatest changes between 2000 and 2006 occurred in the adolescent age group where the proportion of visits to general pediatricians increased from 38% to 53%.

Conclusions
Pediatricians continue to provide most primary care visits for children in the United States. For the first time, pediatricians now provide most visits for adolescents.