Assessing Shifts in Outpatient Visits to Physicians of Other Specialties in Rural Areas With Shortages of Cardiologists and Gastroenterologists: A Preliminary Analysis

Authors: Donald Pathman, MD, MPH | Samuel Berchuck, BS | James Terry, BA

Topics: Rural Health, Workforce Demand

Research Center: Carolina Health Workforce Research Center

April 1, 2015

Although physician workforce planning approaches the need for physicians of each specialty individually, in fact many services are provided by physicians of several specialties. Further, there is some evidence that physicians adjust the scope and balance of services they provide when there are too few physicians of other specialties in their communities, although when this “service shifting” happens and for which services and specialties is not known.

This report uses Medicare data to assess changes in the number of outpatient visits made to various specialty groups for atrial fibrillation and for esophageal, gastric, and duodenal disorders in rural areas that vary in their local availability of cardiologists and gastroenterologists, respectively.

Read Full Report
Carolina Health Workforce Research Center logo