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The roughly 40,000 anesthesiologists (ANs) and anesthesiology residents and 39,000 licensed certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and student CRNAs in the United States provide most anesthesiology services. Shortages in this critical area of health care can lead to problems in the provision of health services. The authors' surveys of ANs, CRNAs, and anesthesiology directors included questions about employer types, work hours, earnings, types of anesthesia provision, and technology adoption and preferences. They found a great deal of heterogeneity in work arrangements, clear urban/rural differences in the labor markets for anesthesiology, and even more-pronounced regional differences. In addition to the survey, demand-based and econometric analyses were conducted. The authors conclude that shortage of ANs and CRNAs is highly likely at the national level, with the survey approach providing hints of such a shortage and the economic analysis providing stronger confirmation. Finally, the authors examine the evolution of AN and CRNA labor markets up to 2020 under various scenarios.

This work was sponsored by Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. The research was conducted in RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

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