понедельник, 17 сентября 2012 г.

Pediatric specialists in short supply locally ; Demand for local services has doubled - Dayton Daily News (Dayton, OH)

DAYTON -- At age 3, Nevaeh Johnson is showing violent tendencies.

'She's tried to hurt herself,' said her mother, Jessica Kersey ofBeavercreek. 'She's tried to hurt her siblings.'

Finding mental health services locally for Nevaeh has beendifficult, though. And Kersey, a single mom, has three otherchildren, a full-time job and is furthering her education online.Having Nevaeh admitted for a week at Cincinnati's children'shospital for treatment would have meant regular long drives thatjust aren't feasible, she said.

'You feel frustrated, helpless,' she said.

Kersey isn't alone. A shortage of doctors in a range of pediatricsubspecialties such as behavioral health -- combined with growth indemand for such services -- has delayed appointments for children.

In addition to behavioral health, there are significant otherneeds. Locally, pediatric specialists are needed in areas such asneurology, urology and gastroenterology, said Dr. Arthur Pick-off,chair of the pediatrics department at the Children's Medical Centerof Dayton.

The wait time to see a pediatric neurologist at DaytonChildren's, for example, is about three weeks. At Dayton Children'soutpatient clinic in Warren County, it's nine weeks.

Those numbers may even be skewed low as some children goelsewhere for care, Pickoff said. Ideally, the wait should be twoweeks.

The hospital said it is committed to making sure children withthe most urgent needs can be seen as quickly as the same day.

Demand at Dayton Children's for pediatric subspecialty serviceshas more than doubled in the past 12 years, with total clinic visitsto specialists growing from 29,445 to 60,770.

Medical advances have helped more children with complicatedmedical conditions survive and be treated outside of hospitals. Thathas driven up demand for pediatric specialists, said LawrenceMcAndrews, president/ CEO of the National Association of Children'sHospitals and Related Institutions.

While direct comparisons are difficult, wait times also can besignificant for those waiting to see adult specialists.

The average wait time nationwide ranges from 15 1/ 2 days forcardiologists to 27 1/ 2 days for obstetrician-gynecologists,according to Merritt Hawkins & Associates, a national health caresearch and consulting firm specializing in the recruitment ofphysicians.