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June 17, 1974

Patient Migration to Small Towns

Author Affiliations

Bureau of Health Resources Statistics Jefferson City, Mo

JAMA. 1974;228(12):1519-1520. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230370017005

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To the Editor.—  We were most interested in the article "Migration of Urbanites to Small Towns for Medical Care" (227:770, 1974).In 1971, we surveyed all physicians licensed to practice in Missouri. One of our questions concerned the percentage of professional time spent in various activities: general or family practice, internal medicine or medical subspeciality, psychiatry, pediatrics, and other activities. These data enabled us to compute the number of "full-time equivalent" physicians providing various types of care.We found that "nonmetropolitan" regions of Missouri had a significantly higher rate of general or family practitioners per 10,000 population (4.0) than did "metropolitan regions" (2.3). This would tend to substantiate the hypothesis that primary medical services might be more available outside of the urban centers. If we combine general or family practice with internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics-gynecology, and pediatrics, the metropolitan regions, in Missouri at least, have a higher rate than