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For severely ill children, a dearth of doctors

Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2010

A growing shortage of pediatricians trained in specialties such as neurology, gastroenterology, and developmental and behavioral medicine is threatening timely access to care for children, according to pediatric medical groups. As the House and Senate intensify the process of melding their two health bills, pediatric groups are lobbying to secure more funding for training and higher reimbursement for pediatric sub-specialties, in the hope of encouraging more doctors-in-training to enter the field. A new survey released by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions found that shortages of doctors across a multitude of pediatric sub-specialties are forcing 90% of hospitals to delay appointments, lose patients, or refer them elsewhere.