Geographic Distribution of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeons throughout the United States

Author(s): Brittney Ehrlich, Matthew Fanelli, Amanda Young, Bhumkida Maddineni, Max Cornell, Daniel Sylvestre, Mark Seeley

Introduction: The purpose of this study was to explore the geographic distribution of pediatric orthopaedic surgeons (POS) in the US as an accurate assessment of pediatric orthopaedic surgical care.

Methods: A list of all POS in the US was compiled using publicly available information from the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA). Name, practice location, and other contact information were recorded for a total of 1,188 surgeons. Surgeons were sorted into congressional districts (CDs). Using Dr. Richard Cooper’s Trend Model and projections for the demand of orthopaedic surgeons in 2020, each state and CD was classified as having optimal, suboptimal, and greater-than-optimal numbers of POS.

Results: The most POS were in California, Texas, Florida, and New York and the least were in Wyoming and Montana. The median number of POS per state was 23 (range: 0-134). The median number of POS per CD was 2 (range: 0-38). Out of a total number of 435 CDs in the US, there were 187 CDs that had 0 POS. Furthermore, all 435 CDs had suboptimal numbers of POS.

Discussion and Conclusion: Currently, there is no surgeon: population ratio standard for POS specifically. Furthermore, numbers generated about orthopaedics in general are based on national figures and do not take into account local demographic, economic, and physician practice pattern variations that can cause suggested ratios to differ. However, the data generated from this study suggests that POS are not evenly distributed throughout the US and many areas are not optimally served.

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