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January 11, 1995

Forecasting Physician Workforce Requirements

Author Affiliations

Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound Seattle, Wash

JAMA. 1995;273(2):113. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520260031020

To the Editor.  —In a recent article by Dr Weiner,1 the evidence from HMO staffing patterns, as reported in his Table 2, is faulty and inconsistent.For example, in the column pertaining to Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound in Table 2, the author has reported the number of neurosurgeon and anesthesiologist physician specialists per 100 000 population as 0.4 and 9.0, respectively. However, Group Health Cooperative (475 000 population) employs four neurosurgeons and 21 anesthesiologists. Is there any explanation for not reporting correctly the numbers for these physician specialists as 0.8 and 4.4, respectively?As a result of the reported staffing patterns in that article, we anesthesiologists in the employ of Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound easily forecast the daunting prospect of having to defend ourselves against a charge that we have twice as many physicians as comparable groups. Our unique early warning may forecast a broader

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