Migration of obstetrician-gynecologists into and out of rural areas, 1985-1990.

This study sought to determine if county-level demographic, health care resource, policy, and competitive factors are associated with the movement of obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) into and out of rural areas. County-level descriptive data from the Area Resource File, the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile, and the American Hospital Association Guide were used for hospital descriptions. This was a correlational study that measured the association of ecologic indicators of nonmetropolitan counties with indicators of gain or loss of ob-gyns. Descriptive statistics characterize the supply and movement of ob-gyns by size and location of the counties. Multinomial logistic regression models describe the net effect of the ecologic indicators on physician movement. During the period 1985 to 1990, a total of 962 patient care ob-gyns moved out of 531 nonmetropolitan counties, and 979 ob-gyns moved into 528 counties. Counties in the southern Atlantic states experienced the greatest net inflow, whereas Illinois, Missouri, and Texas had the greatest net outflow. Counties that retained ob-gyns during this period were in the mid-range of population. Positive correlates of outward migration were adjacency to a metropolitan county and loss of hospital bed supply; negative correlates with outward migration were the supply of hospital beds and total population. Inward migration was positively correlated with retention or gain of county family physicians and with adjacency; negative correlates were overall population and total family physician supply. The movement of ob-gyns in nonmetropolitan counties is influenced by state policies, local resources, and relative location. No clear evidence shows that there are competitive relations between family physician supply and ob-gyn supply.

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