Generalist Physicians in Nonmetropolitan Counties in Ohio
P. Tennyson Williams, MD;
Michael Whitcomb, MD;
Randall Harris, MD, PhD
Arch Fam Med. 1994;3(5):425-428.
To identify by specialty (family practice, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics) the number and ratios of generalist physicians per 100 000 population in nonmetropolitan counties in Ohio and to describe the trends in these data from 1975 through 1990.
The data were compiled on a county basis by physician census takers residing in each county in Ohio. The US Office of Management and Budget's definition of nonmetropolitan counties formed the basis of the calculations.
In nonmetropolitan counties of Ohio, generalist physician numbers and ratios improved between 1975 and 1990 in general internal medicine (from 5.9 to 10.2 per 100 000 population) and general pediatrics (from 2.6 to 4.9 per 100 000 population) but not in family practice, which experienced a decrease from 31.0 to 28.7 per 100 000 population. Eight counties with no hospitals were unable to attract general internists or general pediatricians.
The results of this study indicate the importance of characterizing generalist physician workforce data by specialty and practice location on a statewide basis and suggest that increasing the supply of physicians does not greatly improve the geographic distribution of the medical workforce. These findings should affect the development of local, state, and federal physician workforce policies aimed at addressing the problem of physician geographic maldistribution.
From the Department of Family Medicine (Dr Williams), Hospital and Health Services Administration (Dr Whitcomb), and the Department of Preventive Medicine (Dr Harris), The Ohio State University, Columbus.