Hospitals face pediatric physician shortages

Children's hospitals nationwide are short of pediatric physician specialists, with some experiencing vacancies for a year or longer, the Children's Hospital Association said yesterday. In a survey of nearly 70 children's hospitals, 39 percent reported ongoing vacancies in neurology, 30 percent in general surgery and 28 percent in behavioral medicine. The shortages mean long wait times for patients, as three out of four hospitals say they must delay appointments, sometimes up to seven times longer than children should wait for care.

In addition to concerns about delayed care, difficulties in recruiting pediatric specialists can translate into higher recruitment costs, decreased staff morale, higher salaries and delayed or lost surgeries, the Children's Hospital Association noted. Statement

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