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Benchmarking the Physician Workforce-Reply

David C. Goodman, MD, MS; Elliott S. Fisher, MD, MPH; Thomas A. Bubolz, PhD; Jack E. Mohr; James F. Poage, PhD; John E. Wennberg, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1997;277(12):965-966. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540360033024.
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In Reply.  —We believe Dr Floch may have misread our article. We studied the physician workforce across the 306 hospital referral regions of the United States. Three health care systems, a large HMO and 2 regions, were selected as benchmarks to point out that modest physician workforce levels are consistent with health care systems successfully competing for patients in the marketplace. Floch may prefer a different benchmark with a greater workforce, and we would encourage him to investigate the marginal benefits of these additional physicians to the region. However, the epidemiologic analysis of the distribution of medical care resources, including physicians, is a well-established research area within health services research. As with any area of research, investigators may differ in their interpretation of data. In the instance of the specialty workforce, the conclusion that there are too many specialists in many regions of the United States is shared by the Institute of

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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