How many pediatricians are there in the United States?
What Is a Pediatrician?
The Divisions of Workforce and Medical Education Policy
and State Government Affairs
recently received a number of requests from members for an official AAP
definition of the term "pediatrician." These requests stem from new
legislation that requires a determination of which physicians do and do
not fall into that category.
For example, the Health
Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act
includes Medicaid incentive payments for electronic health record (EHR)
adoption, with specific Medicaid patient caseload threshold requirements
for "pediatricians." In this instance, the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that "pediatrician" can be
defined by each state Medicaid program for purposes of these payments.
Additionally, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
includes a Medicaid payment increase in 2013-2014 for certain Evaluation
& Management (E&M) and immunization administration primary care
services, but these increases will only be available to physicians with
the "primary specialty designation of family medicine, general internal
medicine, or pediatric medicine."
In order to meet the needs of these legislative initiatives, the AAP has developed its own official definition
of "pediatrician" and "pediatrics," which includes pediatric medical
subspecialists and surgical specialists and an important reference to
the medical home.
to the latest American Medical Association Masterfile data (2011),
there were 91,915 physicians in the US who identified themselves as a
pediatrician, pediatric medical subspecialist, pediatric surgical
specialist, or other pediatric-focused physician. This includes 58,726
general pediatricians and 4,703 physicians who were trained jointly in
internal medicine-pediatrics. Finally, there were 28,374 pediatric
medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical specialists, and other
pediatric specialists. (Smart DR, ed. Physician Characteristics and
Distribution in the US, 2013 Edition. Chicago, IL: American Medical
Association, 2013.) Is there a pediatrician shortage?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) concludes that there is currently a shortage of pediatric medical subspecialists in many fields, as well as a shortage of pediatric surgical specialists. In addition, the AAP believes that the current distribution of primary care pediatricians is inadequate to meet the needs of children living in rural and other underserved areas, and more primary care pediatricians will be needed in the future because of the increasing number of children who have significant chronic health problems, changes in physician work hours, and implementation of current health reform efforts that seek to improve access to comprehensive patient- and family-centered care for all children in a medical home.
The AAP is committed to being an active participant in physician workforce policy development with both professional organizations and governmental bodies to ensure a pediatric perspective on health care workforce issues. Read “The Pediatrician Workforce Policy Statement
” for additional information.Where can I find additional information on the number of pediatricians in pediatric subspecialties?
above-referenced book provides information on the number of physicians
in pediatric subspecialties using data from the American Medical
Association Masterfile. In addition, pediatric specialty associations
may be able to provide you with specialty specific statistics. In
support of Section 5203 of the Affordable Care Act, the AAP Department
of Federal Affairs and the Division of Workforce and Medical Education
Policy prepared this fact sheet
about the pediatric subspecialty and surgical specialty workforce. What is the gender mix of pediatricians?
to the American Medical Association Masterfile (2011 data), there were
78,766 general pediatricians, of whom 33,617 (42.7%) were male and
45,149 (57.3%) who were female. The AAP Survey of Fellows (2011-2012)
similarly reports that 42.5% of post-residency AAP members were male,
while 57.5% were female. For pediatric residents, the proportion of
women is even higher, with women comprising 67.5% of AAP resident
members, and men 32.5%. (AAP Survey of Fellows
78, 79, 80, and 81)How many children are there in the United States?
U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Census reports that there were 74,181,467
children between the ages of 0 and 17 in the United States, which makes
up 24% of the US population. (U.S. Bureau of the Census. Table 1. Population by Sex and Selected Age Groups: 2000 and 2010
)What is the ideal pediatrician-to-population ratio?
the circumstances of each local health market vary widely, there is no
ideal ratio. Many factors dictate the appropriate ratio between
physicians and patients, including the number of insured and uninsured
patients in the market, referral patterns, commuting patterns for
subspecialty care, disease burden of the community, the presence of an
academic medical center, and overall number of physicians. How much do pediatricians earn?
2013 Pediatrician Compensation Report, which is based on 2012 data,
reports a median pediatrician compensation of $173,000, with an average
compensation of $190,000 for men and $156,000 for women. However,
reported salaries vary considerably by geographic location, practice
arrangement, career stage, gender, hours worked, and a variety of other
factors. Compensation was highest in group practices and in the Great
Lakes region. (Medscape. Physician Compensation Report 2013
. Accessed July 2013.)What are some of the other practice characteristics of pediatricians?
The AAP Survey of Fellows
(2011-2012) demonstrates that over one third of AAP Fellows are age 40
or younger, nearly one quarter are practicing part-time, about half of
AAP members practice in a group practice and serve in urban settings.
AAP Survey of Fellows 78, 79, 80, 81. Where can I find information and resources for physicians wishing to reenter the workforce?
reentry into the workforce has been defined as returning to
professional activity/clinical practice for which one has been trained,
certified or licensed after an extended period. The Physician Reentry
into the Workforce Project provides resources and information for
physicians, organizations, and employers seeking information regarding
physician reentry issues. The Reentry Project is a collaborative
endeavor that examines the diverse issues encompassed under the rubric
of reentry. It creates guidelines, recommendations, and strategies that
serve physicians, employers, and organizations. The AAP has both
supported and funded The Physician Reentry into the Workforce Project
since its inception in 2005. More information can be found here