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February 1992

Availability of Primary Care Health PersonnelThe States Speak Out

Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(2):268-273. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400140022007

The adequacy of the supply of health personnel, and primary care personnel in particular, has been assessed at the aggregate national level and the disaggregate or regional/ state perspective. While Federal programs have been successful in expanding the Nation's supply of health care practitioners and alleviating aggregate national shortages in some occupations and specialties, problems of geographic distribution remain. In an effort to obtain information on the adequacy of the supply of health care personnel within each state and jurisdiction, the chief executives were asked to assess their most pressing personnel supply concerns. The two occupations most often cited as being in short supply were primary care physicians and registered nurses. The state assessment of shortages of registered nurses is in concert with national assessments. In contrast, the supply of primary care physicians appears to be adequate if not in excess at the national level, implying that aggregate assessments may camouflage significant regional and state shortages. Disaggregate assessments are essential to derive an appropriate picture of national supply adequacy.

(Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:268-273)