ERIC Number: EJ862451
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
Are There Enough Doctors in My Rural Community? Perceptions of the Local Physician Supply
Biola, Holly; Pathman, Donald E.
Journal of Rural Health, v25 n2 p115-123 Spr 2009
Purpose: To assess whether people in the rural Southeast perceive that there is an adequate number of physicians in their communities, assess how these perceptions relate to county physician-to-population (PtP) ratios, and identify other factors associated with the perception that there are enough local physicians. Methods: Adults (n = 4,879) from 150 rural counties in eight southeastern states responded through a telephone survey. Agreement or disagreement with the statement "I feel there are enough doctors in my community" constituted the principal outcome. Weighted chi-square analysis and a generalized estimating equation (GEE) assessed the strength of association between perceptions of an adequate physician workforce and county PtP ratios, individual characteristics, attitudes about and experiences with medical care, and other county characteristics. Findings: Forty-nine percent of respondents agreed there were enough doctors in their communities, 46% did not agree, and 5% were undecided. Respondents of counties with higher PtP ratios were only somewhat more likely to agree that there were enough local doctors (Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.09, P less than 0.001). Multivariate analyses revealed that perceiving that there were enough local physicians was more common among men, those 65 and older, whites, and those with lower regard for physician care. Perceptions that the local physician supply was inadequate were more common for those who had longer travel distances, problems with affordability, and little confidence in their physicians. Perceptions of physician shortages were more common in counties with higher poverty rates. Conclusions: County PtP ratios only partially account for rural perceptions that there are or are not enough local physicians. Perceptions of an adequate local physician workforce are also related to how much people value physicians' care and whether they face other barriers to care.
Descriptors: Supply and Demand, Attitude Measures, Medical Services, Public Opinion, Individual Characteristics, Poverty, Physicians, Telephone Surveys, Correlation, Counties, Geometric Concepts, Gender Differences, Age Differences, Racial Differences, Barriers
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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