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May 22, 1996

Counting Generalist Physicians

Author Affiliations

University of New Mexico Albuquerque

JAMA. 1996;275(20):1544-1545. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530440022023

To the Editor.  —The definitions for and the methods used to count generalist and primary care physicians in a number of studies are fraught with problems.1-4 For example, Dr Grumbach and colleagues4 have suggested that the supply of generalist physicians was substantially less than the number usually reported from the American Medical Association's Physician Masterfile, but assumed that a physician with a subspecialty education, such as a cardiologist who devotes 60% of his or her time to general internal medicine, should not be included in the supply of generalist physicians.To study this issue in my state, in April 1995, a survey was sent to physicians with an active license to practice medicine in New Mexico as of March 15,1995, and 80% responded. Of the 1949 active nonfederal physicians living in New Mexico who responded, 793 reported a first or second specialty as 1 of the generalist specialties: