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Significant Challenges for Developmental-Behavioral Peds

Care issues include long waits, high case complexity, poor reimbursement, and provider burnout

FRIDAY, Feb. 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The developmental-behavioral pediatric (DBP) workforce struggles to meet current service demands, according to a study published online Feb. 16 in Pediatrics.

Carolyn Bridgemohan, M.D., from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues surveyed a convenience sample of the DBP workforce (members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Council on Children with Disabilities, the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Developmental and Behavioral Mental Health Special Interest Group) to assess workforce trends.

Based on responses from 411 fellowship-trained physicians, 147 non-fellowship-trained physicians, and 125 nurse practitioners, the researchers found that physicians had a mean of 29 years since medical school graduation, and one-third planned to retire in three to five years. Generally, nurse practitioners were earlier in their careers. Reported practice trends included long wait times for new appointments and up to 50 percent additional time spent per visit in non-reimbursed clinical-care activities. Clinician burnout was reported with increased patient complexity. For each visit, female subspecialists spent more time in billable and nonbillable components of clinical care.

“The DBP workforce struggles to meet current service demands, with long waits for appointments, increased complexity, and high volumes of non-reimbursed care. Sex-based practice differences must be considered in future planning,” the authors write. “The viability of the DBP subspecialty requires strategies to maintain and expand the workforce, improve clinical efficiency, and prevent burnout.”

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