BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Developmental-behavioral conditions are common, affecting ∼15% of US children. The prevalence and complexity of these conditions are increasing despite long wait times and a limited pipeline of new providers. We surveyed a convenience sample of the developmental-behavioral pediatric (DBP) workforce to determine current practices, workforce trends, and future needs.
METHODS: An electronic survey was e-mailed to 1568 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.
RESULTS: The response rate was 48%. There were 411 fellowship-trained physicians, 147 nonfellowship-trained physicians, and 125 nurse practitioners; 61% were women, 79% were white, and 5% were Hispanic. Physicians had a mean of 29 years since medical school graduation, and one-third planned to retire in 3 to 5 years. Nurse practitioners were earlier in their careers. Respondents reported long wait times for new appointments, clinician burnout, increased patient complexity and up to 50% additional time spent per visit in nonreimbursed clinical-care activities. Female subspecialists spent more time per visit in billable and nonbillable components of clinical care.
CONCLUSIONS: The DBP workforce struggles to meet current service demands, with long waits for appointments, increased complexity, and high volumes of nonreimbursed care. Sex-based practice differences must be considered in future planning. The viability of the DBP subspecialty requires strategies to maintain and expand the workforce, improve clinical efficiency, and prevent burnout.
- Accepted December 4, 2017.
- Copyright © 2018 by the American Academy of Pediatrics