Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric Practice Patterns and Implications for the Workforce: Results of the Future of Pediatric Education II Survey of Sections Project

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Abstract

A survey of developmental-behavioral pediatricians was conducted to obtain data and insights on their current practice. As part of the Future of Pediatric Education (FOPE) II Survey of Sections Project, questionnaires were sent to individuals who were most likely to represent those pediatricians engaged in the subspecialty of developmental-behavioral pediatrics. Four groups of physicians were compared within the survey: developmental-behavioral fellowship group (n = 272), developmental disabilities fellowship group (n = 139), general academic pediatrics or other fellowship group (n = 57), and a nonfellowship group (n = 224). A majority of respondents indicated a need for an increased number of subspecialists in developmental-behavioral pediatrics in their community during the next 3 to 5 years. There were significant differences in the survey results of a variety of practice issues between those who had and had not received formal fellowship training. The survey data illustrate a developmental-behavioral pediatrician workforce that is becoming increasingly fellowship trained, receiving more referrals, and encountering constraints to seeing more patients in an era of declining reimbursement for services. To overcome these obstacles, stakeholders in child health, including health care payers, will need to be educated about the unique skills and clinical expertise of physicians in developmental-behavioral pediatrics and neurodevelopmental disabilities. J Dev Behav Pediatr 24:180-188, 2003. Index terms: workforce, developmental-behavioral pediatrics, neurodevelopmental disabilities, practice.

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