Practice Patterns of International and U.S. Medical Graduate Psychiatrists

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ObjectiveThe practice patterns of international medical graduate (IMG) and U.S. medical graduate (USMG) psychiatrists were compared.MethodUsing data from the 1996 National Survey of Psychiatric Practice, the authors compared IMGs and USMGs in terms of demographic characteristics, practice settings, patients' clinical characteristics, and sources of reimbursement.ResultsThe IMGs surveyed tended to be older than USMGs, included a higher proportion of women, and were more racially heterogeneous. They worked longer hours, worked more frequently in the public sector, and treated a higher proportion of patients with psychotic disorders. The IMGs also received a higher percentage of their income than USMGs from Medicaid and Medicare, whereas the reverse was true of self-payment. Most of these differences remained significant after psychiatrist's age, gender, race, board certification, and work setting were controlled for.ConclusionsIMG and USMG psychiatrists have different practice patterns. Policies that substantially decrease the number of IMG psychiatrists may adversely affect the availability of psychiatrists to treat minorities and other underserved populations.(Am J Psychiatry 1999; 156:445-450)

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