Perspective: Academic Obstetrics-Gynecology Departments in the City of Philadelphia: Are the Wheels Coming Off?
Maternity care in Philadelphia is in an unprecedented and precarious situation, as all the community hospitals that once provided maternity care services have either closed completely or stopped providing maternity services. Six academic medical centers (AMCs) in the city of Philadelphia now provide care to a population of 1.5 million requiring increasingly complex and expensive maternity care, at the same time as insurance premiums and the malpractice crisis in Pennsylvania peaked. The AMCs are able to continue providing maternity care to this population that includes a large proportion of poor, minority, and un- or underinsured patients thanks to government subsidization of resident education, the services provided by resident physicians, and the influx of government and industry research funds, but the financial outlook of academic obstetrics-gynecology departments in this city is dire. Obstetric academic medicine in Philadelphia has come to more closely resemble a "big wheel" tricycle than Flexner's "three-legged stool." Clinical medicine is the driver (the large front wheel and pedal) pulling along education and research, the two smaller wheels in the back. A maternity care alliance is needed in Philadelphia allowing area AMCs to pool and trade resources, reduce costs, improve quality and innovation, and share risks. Philadelphia may serve as an early warning for other cities and AMCs around the country and has the opportunity to serve as a model for how to overcome these serious challenges.
Available from: Jay Schulkin
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ABSTRACT: Obstetrician-gynecologist faculty workforce studies have been limited to faculty at university training programs. Not much is known about the obstetrician-gynecologist faculty workforce at community programs.
This study assessed the obstetrician-gynecologist faculty workforce in community training programs via administering surveys to the department chairs. The questionnaire assessed number of current faculty by degree, work status (part-time/full-time), rank, and sub-specialty. Out of 125 programs, 65 responded (52% response rate).
The mean number of full-time faculty per department in community hospitals was 17 faculty. Two-thirds of community department chairs anticipated an increase in full-time faculty and 43% anticipated an increase in part-time faculty. Like university programs, sub-specialists and Professors (compared to generalists and assistant professors) were more likely to be male.
There are similarities between the community and university faculty workforce, many of the community program faculty are involved in research. Given the evolving clinical, educational, and research demands on community faculty, it is important to continue to monitor and study community program faculty.
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ABSTRACT: Despite being ranked number one globally in terms of health care cost per capita, the United States (US) has ranked as low as 37th in the world in terms of health care system performance. This poor performance for one of the most developed nations in the world has been reflected in the underachieved attempts of the multiple US health care systems at improving maternal and newborn health, according to the goals set in 2000 by the United Nations with Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) 5: Improve Maternal Health, and 4: Reduce Child Mortality. This paper will examine the progress, or lack thereof, over a period of 15 years of the fifth largest urban area in the US - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - in its delivery of health care to pregnant women and their newborns. Using data collected from national, state, and city health agencies, trends concerning pregnancy care will be presented and compared to the target goals of MDG-5 and MDG-4, as well as Healthy People 2020, a US government-based initiative to improve health care of all Americans. Findings will demonstrate that urban areas such as Philadelphia are on a path of not reaching goals that have been set by the United Nations and the US government, and by some indicators are moving away in a negative direction from these goals.
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