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May 24, 2019

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Study: Las Vegas has highest risk for OB-GYN shortage

Evaleen Diaz

Leila Navidi

Evaleen Diaz, 18, visits her OB-GYN Dr. Arthur Tayengco in his office in Las Vegas on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. Diaz, a senior at Western High School, is seven months pregnant.

Las Vegas has the highest risk for an OB-GYN shortage compared to the top 50 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to a new report by Doximity, a social network for physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

The shortage of doctors in the Las Vegas area and the state has been well-documented, and this report underscores the continuing problem in women’s health care. It compares the birth rate to OB-GYN ratio, high workloads and a larger portion of OB-GYN nearing retirement age, drawing on Doximity profiles of more than 30,000 full-time, board-certified OB-GYNs.

“The current workforce in obstetrics and gynecology is aging, retiring early, and going part time at an increasing pace, while the number of patients seeking care is exploding due to health care reform and population statistics,” said Dr. Valerie Anne Jones, retired OB-GYN and member of Doximity's Medical Advisory Board.

Most OB-GYNs begin to retire at 59, and the average age of OB-GYN specialists in Las Vegas is 51 years old. The city also ranks in the top 10 of every measurement the study used to measure.

It’s anticipated that metropolitan areas with older OB-GYNs, higher workload and a high birth rate to OB-GYN ratio are at the greater risk of shortages.

“Understanding potential OB-GYN shortages is a key starting point in addressing the problem, and our data show that we have a growing risk in cities across the country,” said Dr. Nate Gross, co-founder of Doximity.

Nevada ranks 47th in the nation for OB-GYN ratio per 100,000, according to the 2017 Health Workforce Supply in Nevada released in March.

Nevada’s ratio of 9.1 barely beats the worst state’s ratio of 8.4 per 100,000. The top state’s OB-GYN ratio is 30.8 per 100,000 people. The average state ratio is 13.1.

“Access to maternity care and women’s health services is vitally important, and we need to have infrastructure to support the numbers or these women will have no OB-GYN to turn to despite having insurance,” Jones said.

OB-GYNs provide care to women during pregnancy and labor as well as gynecological care services through a woman’s life including cancer screenings.

“It’s impossible to understate the importance of OB-GYNs to women’s health in the United States,” Gross said. “From maternity care to screening for cancer and critical primary and preventive care, OB-GYN specialists are at the frontline of women’s health care.”

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