Oversight hearings on the National Service Corps Program

by Albert P. Williams

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Presents testimony given before a Senate committee on the changing distribution of physicians in nonmetropolitan areas. The study described covered 23 states with unfavorable physician-to-population ratios, and examined location data on diplomates of eight specialty boards for 1960, 1970, and 1977. The supply of physicians in the U.S. increased sharply during that period; and the percentage of towns with board-certified specialists, including the smaller communities, grew dramatically--notably, towns previously unserved by such specialists. That movement is likely to grow still further with the 30 percent increase in physician supply projected for 1977 to 1985. The supply factor almost certainly accounts for this movement; however, one cannot rule out the possibility of changes in the preference for small-town living or in the geographic distribution of the demand for care, although there is no substantial evidence of such changes.

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