Some parts of the U.S. may see a shortage of obstetrician-gynecologists (Ob-Gyn), according to a new report from Doximity, a social network for physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

The report, drawn from CMS data, board certification data, and self-reported data, includes over 30,000 full-time, board-certified Ob-Gyns.  The analysis specifically shows trends of high Ob-Gyn maternity workloads, a workforce of Ob-Gyns reaching retirement age, and a lack of younger Ob-Gyns in practice. 

Using a composite index score, Doximity was able to evaluate the risk severity of Ob-Gyn shortages in the country’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas (based on population) according to an analysis of workloads and ages of physicians. 

The top 10 metropolitan areas at highest risk for an Ob-Gyn shortage are: 

  1. Las Vegas, NV
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Riverside, CA
  6. Detroit, MI
  7. Memphis, TN
  8. Salt Lake City, UT
  9. St. Louis, MO
  10. Buffalo, NY

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A growing rate of retiring Ob-Gyns in metropolitan areas with a larger workload can pose a significant challenge to the local workforce to meet the demand for women’s health services. Specifically, a four-fold variation in maternity workloads with the highest number of births per Ob-Gyn in Riverside, CA (248) and the lowest in Hartford, CT (58). 

Doximity also reported that several metropolitan areas have a big portion of Ob-Gyns nearing retirement age. The areas with the highest percentage of Ob-Gyns aged ≥55 years are Pittsburgh, Virginia Beach, Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, and Orlando. Metropolitan areas such as Houston, Portland, Indianapolis, Columbus, and San Jose have the lowest percentage of Ob-Gyns aged ≥55 years. 

Of the total U.S. Ob-Gyns, only 14% are aged ≤40 years whereas 37% are aged ≥55 years. The areas with the lowest percentage of Ob-Gyns aged ≤40 years are Las Vegas, Buffalo, Detroit, Orlando, and St. Louis. Metropolitan areas such as Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Houston, Columbus, and Minneapolis have the highest percentage of Ob-Gyns aged ≤40 years. 

Commenting on the report, retired Ob-Gyn Valerie Anne Jones, MD said, “Access to maternity care and women’s health services is vitally important, and we need to have infrastructure to support the numbers or these women will have no Ob-Gyn to turn to despite having insurance.”

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