Clinical and financial characteristics of pediatric surgery practices

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Pediatric Surgery








Financial subsidy; Medical practice; Pediatric surgery


Pediatric surgical practices face many challenges. We wanted to define the clinical practice and financial support among different types of practices as follows: academic, private practice, and employed. Methods: This study involved an Internet survey of members of the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA), comparisons using χ2 and paired t test analyses. Results: The response rate was 28.7% (233/811), 145 academic, 48 private, and 40 employed. More than 90% received partial to full financial hospital support. Only 7.3% received no outside support, most frequently those in private practices (16.7%; P = .016). More than 90% had resident or fellow coverage. Nearly all practices covered newborn conditions and solid tumors, with differences in pediatric trauma, patent ductus arteriosus, and urologic condition. Transfer out of community was low but increased for specific conditions during the respondents' absence, from 0.4% to 5.2% to 3.4% to 6.9% (P = .001-0.003). A minority of respondents noted that nonpediatric surgeons treated selected pediatric conditions in their communities as follows: inguinal hernia (38.4%), umbilical hernia (42.6%), abscesses (37.5%), and trauma (36.6%). Pediatric surgeons shared call within their group in 86.3%, whereas 5.6% took call alone. Many restricted call by excluding trauma (37.2%), soft tissue infections or appendectomies (21.3% for both), and older children (>12 years, 23.8%). Nearly one fifth (18.9%) expressed interest in having an APSA surgeon serve as a locum tenens in their practices. Discussion: Many pediatric surgeons receive both financial and in-kind subsidies. Although they cover a wide breadth of surgical conditions, many limit the conditions that they treat to reduce call responsibilities. The workforce shortage in pediatric surgery creates call coverage problems that may affect up to 8% of US practices. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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