ACOG: Almost Half of U.S. Counties Lack a Single Ob-Gyn

Mean number of Ob-Gyns per 10,000 women drops from metropolitan to micropolitan to rural counties

TUESDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half of U.S. counties lack a single obstetrician-gynecologist (Ob-Gyn), according to a study presented at the annual clinical meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), held from May 5 to 9 in San Diego.

Jeffrey Klagholz, from the ACOG in Washington D.C., and colleagues collected data from the 2010 U.S. County Census File for women aged 15 to 44 years, and from the membership roster of the ACOG, to assess the distribution of Ob-Gyns at county and state levels. Maps were generated detailing the density of post-residency, actively practicing physicians trained in general Ob-Gyn.

The researchers identified 33,316 general Ob-Gyns in the United States in 2010, yielding a national ratio of 2.62 Ob-Gyns per 10,000 women. Ninety-eight percent of all Ob-Gyns reported their primary activity as patient care. There was a significant decrease in the mean number of Ob-Gyns per 10,000 women from metropolitan counties to micropolitan counties to rural counties. Forty-nine percent of the 3,143 U.S. counties, representing nearly 9.5 million Americans, lacked a single Ob-Gyn. These counties were located in all states, but were mainly in the Midwest and South. Most of the counties were recognized as being underserved based on their designation from the Bureau of Primary Care's Health Professional Shortage Area.

"An uneven distribution of Ob-Gyns exists throughout the United States and may worsen as resident graduates cluster in metropolitan areas," the authors write. "Meeting the needs of underserved areas requires governing bodies to develop, test, and implement provider compensation modes."

Abstract No. 21
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