California at risk of OB-GYN shortage

Doximity, released a study last month that shows California will be particularly venerable in a looming obstetrician and gynecologist (OB-GYN) shortage. The study compiles data from the members of nation’s largest medical social network to rank American cities from most to least risk of a shortage of OB-GYN providers.

Four California cities rank in the top 15 at most risk of a shortage. These include Los Angeles at #2, Riverside at #5, Sacramento at #9, and San Diego at #12.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AGOC), there will be a shortage of approximately 8,800 OB-GYNs by 2020 and up to 22,000 by 2050. This is due to the predicted growth in the female population, as well as retirement of older OB-GYNs, and only minimal increases in new OB-GYN graduates. This attrition, in turn is attributed to the high workload, difficult payment methodologies, and changing workforce demographics. This is particularly applicable in California, where four cities also rank in the top 15 for births per OB-GYN.

In its 2017 OB-GYN Workforce Study the ACOG concluded,

“Medical needs of the U.S. adult female population during the next decade cannot be met by OB-GYNs, family physicians and general internists alone. More collaborative team-based care would improve access to health care. The addition of qualified nonphysician health care professionals … should help meet those needs while potentially reducing the cost of care and the need for additional health care professionals.”

This new study may rekindle the debate as to whether or how to incorporate to further incorporate Licensed Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives into OB-GYN care models. Licensed Midwifes have been free to practice independently of physician supervision in certain situations since 2014. While just last month AB 2682, a bill that would have removed the supervision requirements for Certified Nurse Midwifes, stalled the legislature when the California Medical Association, the ACOG, and the California Nurse-Midwife Association could not agree on licensing and practice standards.