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Many Non-Emergency Medicine Trained Physicians in ER Care

FRIDAY, July 13, 2018 -- The emergency medicine workforce comprises many non-emergency medicine trained physicians, according to a study recently published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

M. Kennedy Hall, M.D., from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues performed a cross-sectional study of all clinicians receiving reimbursement for evaluation and management services to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries in the emergency department using the 2014 Medicare Public Use Files. Providers were classified as emergency physicians, non-emergency physicians, and advanced practice providers.

The researchers found that of the 58,641 unique emergency medicine clinicians, 61.1, 14.3, and 24.5 percent were classified as emergency physicians, non-emergency physicians, and advanced practice providers, respectively. Family practice and internal medicine predominated among non-emergency physicians categorized as emergency medicine clinicians (41.7 and 19.9 percent, respectively). Physician assistants and nurse practitioners (68.4 and 31.5 percent, respectively) predominated among advanced practice providers. Overall, 58,565 emergency medicine clinicians were mapped to 2,291 U.S. counties. The proportion of emergency physicians was higher in urban versus rural counties (63.9 versus 44.8 percent); 27.1 and 41.4 percent of counties, respectively, had no emergency medicine clinicians and no emergency physicians reimbursed by Medicare fee-for-service Part B.

"This work establishes a new baseline estimate of the emergency care workforce, encompassing nearly 60,000 emergency medicine clinicians, of whom fewer than two in three were emergency physicians," the authors write.

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Posted: July 2018