(HealthDay News) – Some regions of the United States, mainly smaller micropolitan areas, have no practicing rheumatologists, according to a study published in the December issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.
John D. FitzGerald, MD PhD, from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues used data from 3,920 rheumatologists in the American College of Rheumatology Membership database to map and assess the number of rheumatologists per Core Based Statistical Area. Data from the 2010 United States census were used to analyze the associated demographics.
The researchers found that 90% of rheumatologists practiced in metropolitan areas, 3% in micropolitan areas, and 7% in rural areas. Many areas did not have a practicing rheumatologist, particularly smaller micropolitan areas. The closest practicing rheumatologist was >200 miles away in some regions with populations of ≥40,000, while no practicing rheumatologist was available in some regions with populations of 200,000 or more. More rheumatologists were present in areas with higher population densities, higher median incomes, and rheumatology training programs.
“These findings highlight that many smaller regions of the country have no or few practicing adult rheumatologists,” FitzGerald and colleagues conclude.