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Lifetime Earning Potential and Workforce Distribution in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Published:September 30, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2022.09.017

      Abstract

      Objectives

      Compare lifetime earning potential (LEP) for developmental and behavioral pediatrics (DBP) to general pediatrics and other pediatric subspecialties. Evaluate association between LEP for DBP and measures of workforce distribution.

      Methods

      Using compensation and debt data from 2018 to 2019 and a net present value analysis, we estimated LEP for DBP compared to general pediatrics and other pediatric subspecialties. We evaluated potential effects of eliminating educational debt, shortening length of fellowship training, and implementing loan repayment or forgiveness programs for pediatric subspecialists. We evaluated the association between LEP for DBP and measures of workforce distribution, including distance to subspecialists, percentage of hospital referral regions (HRRs) with a subspecialist, ratio of subspecialists to regional child population, and fellowship fill rates.

      Results

      LEP was lower for DBP than for general private practice pediatrics ($1.9 million less), general academic pediatrics ($1.1 million less), and all other pediatric subspecialties. LEP of DBP could be improved by shortening fellowship training or implementing loan repayment or forgiveness programs. LEP for subspecialists, including DBP, was associated with distance to subspecialists (-0.5 miles/$100,000 increase in LEP, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.98 to -0.08), percentage of HRRs with a subspecialist (+1.1%/$100,000 increase in LEP, 95% CI 0.37–1.83), ratio of subspecialists to regional child population (+0.1 subspecialists/100,000 children/$100,000 increase in LEP, 95% CI 0.04–0.17), and average 2014 to 2018 fellowship fill rates (+1% spots filled/$100,000 increase in LEP, 95% CI 0.25–1.65).

      Conclusions

      DBP has the lowest LEP of all pediatric fields and this is associated with DBP workforce shortages. Interventions to improve LEP may promote workforce growth.

      Keywords

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