In a survey fielded by the Children's Hospital Association, about 70% of children's hospitals nationwide reported physician specialist shortages that have lasted one year or longer. These shortages, according to the association, are affecting hospitals' ability to provide timely care to children.
The survey, conducted in May, gathered results from 69 member hospitals, including small and large acute-care and specialty-care facilities. Respondents from 3 out of 4 hospitals said that the shortages have resulted in delayed appointments and that by the time a child is seen for an appointment, he or she may have waited seven times longer than the ideal two-week time frame for an appointment. Neurology, general surgery and behavioral medicine topped the list of specialty shortages.
According to the association, access to children's healthcare could be further compromised without adequate federal funding. The association reports that Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education, or CHGME, funding has been cut by about $50 million since fiscal year 2010 and is well below the support required to close the gap between demand and supply of specialized caregivers.