Graham Center One-Pager

Family Physicians Increase Provision of Well-Infant Care Despite Decline in Prenatal Services

Am Fam Physician. 2003 Jan 1;67(1):17.

Over the past 20 years, family physicians and general practitioners (FP/GPs) and pediatricians have upheld their commitment to preventive care for infants. Non-Metropolitan Statistical Areas (non-MSAs) depend on family physicians for almost one half of their well-infant care. FP/GPs have increased their overall provision of well-infant care despite a decline in delivery of prenatal services. This commitment to child health care demands continued excellence of family physician training in pediatric medicine, preventive care, and child advocacy.

We analyzed National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) data spanning 1980 to 1999 identifying well-infant visits for children younger than one year. To create comparison periods consisting of an equal number of annual surveys, data were aggregated for seven surveys before 1993 (early period) and seven surveys after 1992 (later period).

While total prenatal visits by physicians declined over the two periods, the total number of well-infant visits by all specialties increased from 53 million visits to 67 million visits. FP/GPs delivered approximately 11.1 million visits in the early period and 12.6 million visits in the later period, while the percentage of total well-infant visits performed by FP/GPs slightly declined from 20.9 percent to 18.9 percent. When controlled for expansion of specialty workforce, the number of well-infant visits per FP/GP remained stable, while the number of well-infant visits per general pediatrician declined over the two periods.

In the later period, FP/GPs provided an increased number of well-infant visits in all regions of the country except the Midwest. Pediatricians provided more well-infant visits in all regions of the country. FP/GPs made their greatest percentage contribution to well-infant care in non-MSAs. In the early period, FP/GPs provided 43 percent of all well-infant care in non-MSAs; this contribution increased in the later period to 45.6 percent. Most notably, the number of well-infant visits performed by pediatricians and FP/GPs in MSAs substantially increased over the two periods.

In these two periods, FP/GPs decreased their provision of prenatal care while increasing their provision of well-infant care. Currently, FP/GPs provide nearly 2 million well-infant visits per year. Consistent educational and institutional support are imperative for family physicians to provide quality preventive health care for children.

Well-Infant Visits Provided by FP/GPs and Pediatricians in Two Seven-Year Periods

Region FP visits in early period*in millions (% of total visits in regions) FP visits in later periodin millions Pediatrician visits in early period* in millions Pediatrician visits in later periodin millions

MSA‡

4.8 (14%)

7.9 (14.1%)

28.5 (82.8%)

47.0 (83.6%)

Non-MSA§

4.6 (43%)

4.7 (45.6%)

5.8 (54.2%)

5.5 (53.4%)

Northeast

1.2 (8.9%)

1.4 (8.4%)

11.6 (86.6%)

14.7 (88%)

Midwest

5.0 (34%)

4.7 (29.3%)

9.3 (63.4%)

11.0 (68.8%)

South

2.3 (17.1%)

2.4 (15.3%)

10.7 (79.9%)

13.1 (83.4%)

West

2.5 (21.6%)

4.1 (22.7%)

8.7 (75%)

13.6 (75.1%)

Total visits

11.1 (20.9%)

12.6 (18.9%)

40.4 (76.2%)

52.5 (78.9%)


FP = family physician; GP = general practitioner; MSA = metropolitan statistical area.

*—Seven annual surveys between 1980 and 1992 (1980, 1981, 1985, 1989–1992).

†—Seven annual surveys between 1993 and 1999.

‡—MSA is a county or group of contiguous counties that contains at least one city with a population of 50,000 or a Census Bureau-defined urbanized area of greater than 50,000 with a metropolitan population of greater than 100,000.

§—Non-MSA is a county that does not meet the above criteria.

note:MSA plus non-MSA does not equal 100 percent because of missing National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data.

Well-Infant Visits Provided by FP/GPs and Pediatricians in Two Seven-Year Periods

View Table

Well-Infant Visits Provided by FP/GPs and Pediatricians in Two Seven-Year Periods

Region FP visits in early period*in millions (% of total visits in regions) FP visits in later periodin millions Pediatrician visits in early period* in millions Pediatrician visits in later periodin millions

MSA‡

4.8 (14%)

7.9 (14.1%)

28.5 (82.8%)

47.0 (83.6%)

Non-MSA§

4.6 (43%)

4.7 (45.6%)

5.8 (54.2%)

5.5 (53.4%)

Northeast

1.2 (8.9%)

1.4 (8.4%)

11.6 (86.6%)

14.7 (88%)

Midwest

5.0 (34%)

4.7 (29.3%)

9.3 (63.4%)

11.0 (68.8%)

South

2.3 (17.1%)

2.4 (15.3%)

10.7 (79.9%)

13.1 (83.4%)

West

2.5 (21.6%)

4.1 (22.7%)

8.7 (75%)

13.6 (75.1%)

Total visits

11.1 (20.9%)

12.6 (18.9%)

40.4 (76.2%)

52.5 (78.9%)


FP = family physician; GP = general practitioner; MSA = metropolitan statistical area.

*—Seven annual surveys between 1980 and 1992 (1980, 1981, 1985, 1989–1992).

†—Seven annual surveys between 1993 and 1999.

‡—MSA is a county or group of contiguous counties that contains at least one city with a population of 50,000 or a Census Bureau-defined urbanized area of greater than 50,000 with a metropolitan population of greater than 100,000.

§—Non-MSA is a county that does not meet the above criteria.

note:MSA plus non-MSA does not equal 100 percent because of missing National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data.

Adapted from Graham Center One-Pager #15. Guirguis-Blake J, Fryer GE, Deutchman M, Green LA, Dovey SM, Phillips RL. Family physicians increase provision of well-infant care despite decline in prenatal services. November 2002. Available at: www.aafppolicy.org/x390.xml. From the Robert Graham Center: Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care, 1350 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 950, Washington, DC 20036 (telephone: 202-986-5708; fax: 202-986-7034; e-mail: policy@aafp.org).

 

This is a corrected version of the article that appeared in print.


Copyright © 2003 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions


Article Tools

  • Print page
  • Share this page
  • AFP CME Quiz

Information From Industry

More in Pubmed

Navigate this Article