Which Cities Will Face OB/GYN Shortages by 2020?

Which Cities Will Face OB/GYN Shortages by 2020?

It has been a known fact that there has been a shortage of physicians in general in the USA over the last several years especially. However, what is also concerning is that there is a shortage of OBGYNs as well and the number of available OBGYNs keeps dwindling down over time. With that said, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists predicts that there will be an OB/GYN shortage of close to 9,000 doctors by 2020, and by 2050, it is predicted that number will multiply which is quite concerning. And there is no reason, unfortunately, to believe otherwise. There is no reason to be optimistic about this issue changing, because there is a much greater chance that nothing will be done about this dilemma than otherwise. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

Factors causing the shortage

And, the reason for this shortage is due to many factors, not just one. The high workloads that any of the OBGYNs face is one reason in addition to the fact that there are not many practicing professionals that are under the age of 40. Additionally, the shortage is also caused by the type of coverage that patients will get whether it is through private insurance coverage or government insurance coverage. And, it is predicted that any large metropolitan city will be affected the most by this shortage.

When you think about it, the workload that these OBGYNs face in addition to them mostly being over 40 years of age. Their stamina is understandably lower, and they are quite simply burned out.

For example, if you take the kind of workload that OBGYNs face in Riverside, CA  and compare it to smaller cities such as Providence, Rhode Island, you’ll see how the burnout can easily happen. Because an OBGYN in Riverside, CA have been responsible for about 250 maternity cases on average per year whereas any OBGYN in Providence, Rhode Island is only responsible for 80 maternity cases. That is a huge difference, and that tells you right there as to why larger cities are going to be dealing with a shortage, and the smaller US cities will likely not.

10 Cities that will face OB/GYN shortage by 2020

After some research has been conducted in order to determine which cities will be facing the shortages the most in the USA, this is what was found. The following US cities are going to be likely to experience OBGYN shortages are:

  1. Los Angeles, CA

  2. Las Vegas, NV

  3. Miami, FL

  4. Riverside, CA

  5. Orlando, FL

  6. St. Louis, MO

  7. Tampa, FL

  8. Detroit, MI

  9. Sacramento, CA

  10. Salt Lake City, UT

And, the researchers have found that the biggest reason for these shortages really is the age of the OBGYNs, as it was found that less than 20% of OBGYNs are under the age of 40 and that there are 36% OBGYNs that are 55 and older. And, those who are over 55 will burn out a lot quicker than their counterparts that are 40 or younger. These OBGYNs have to be responsible for hundreds of births and types of maternal care each year, and they physically cannot do it anymore.

OB/GYN shortage by 2020

Younger OBGYNs to replace retiring OBGYNs

Additionally, there are not many younger OBGYNs in training that will replace the retiring OBGYNs, so that is how the shortage begins to happen. And, the thing is it was found that the average OBGYN is 51 years of age, and end up retiring at 59 instead of 64 like the average American is when they retire.

Again, the reason for these OBGYNs retiring early is due to burning out due to the stress of having to deliver hundreds of births each year and providing maternal care on top of that. And, the location of where the OBGYN is working also adds to the stress that they experience. Because for instance, in St. Louis, MO where there is an average of 250 births that OBGYNs in that location are responsible for will increase the odds of them burning out whereas the OBGYNs in Ann Arbor, Michigan are responsible for only over 30 births per year. That makes a huge difference.

Another key issue that is the cause for the burnout that OBGYNs experience that lives in larger cities is due to the type of insurance coverage that the patients have.  It has been found that younger women that live in larger cities are insured by Medicaid or are not insured at all. And, in smaller cities where the workload is not as overwhelming to OBGYNs in those areas are treating women that are privately insured.

That said, when you add those factors together, you can easily see how the stress that the OBGYNs that work in larger US cities impacts them, and with them retiring early and with not many younger OBGYNs taking their place, this is quite concerning.

Midwifery vs Gynecology

And, the fact of the matter is, many women are wanting to use midwives in the US instead of OBGYNs because of insurance reasons as well. The costs are too much, and even private insurance does not always cover the cost of their care. And, delivering in a hospital is also very costly without insurance coverage.

Otherwise, if pregnant women want to use OBGYNs who live in any of the larger US cities that are likely going to present a shortage, then they would have to travel to a smaller city to get the proper care that they need from an OBGYN to monitor their pregnancies. However, is that a logical thing to do? Especially if they live far from any smaller town that would have a larger number of OBGYNs practicing and available? It is difficult to say unless they end up moving there.

And, if they all moved to smaller cities that are more equipped to provide them what they need, then the same issue would end up coming up in those cities too. That means these OBGYNs would end up becoming burned out for having to deliver at least 100 births and having to monitor all of those cases of maternal care. Then that would certainly end up defeating the purpose.

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Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD
Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD | ConceiveEasy
Dr. Prabha Sahgal MD, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and subspecialty board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Sahgal holds a B.S. degree from MIT in molecular biology and currently serves on the ConceiveEasy board of directors.