Almost half of Oregon emergency rooms cant offer round-the-clock, on-call coverage in at least one specialty, and about 13% of the states hospitals have seen their trauma designations downgraded because of on-call deficiencies, according to a study published online by the Annals of Emergency Medicine. The lack of on-call coverage persisted despite offers of substantial stipends to specialists. Shortages of specialists willing to take call in the emergency department are a nationwide problem and represent a major change in the way we provide emergency care, said lead author K. John McConnell, a researcher at Oregon Health & Science University. A survey conducted in the summer of 2005 found shortages in most specialties, with the most severe shortages in orthopedics and neurosurgery coverage. Researchers said several factors contribute to specialists reluctance to take call, including inadequate reimbursement, threat of lawsuits and the growth of ambulatory surgery centers and specialty hospitals. Read the study. -- by Michael Romano
On-call shortages widespread in Ore.
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