Increase Access to Pediatric Rheumatologists
There is a severe shortage of pediatric rheumatologists in the United States, with fewer than 250 board-certified, practicing pediatric rheumatologists, primarily clustered in and around large cities. In fact, 11 states do not have a single board-certified, practicing pediatric rheumatologist, and 7 states have only one.
As a result, the hundreds of thousands of patients with juvenile rheumatic disease have severely limited access to the care they need. Further, the average pediatric rheumatologist with regard to age is in his or her low-to-mid 50’s.
Due to the scarcity of pediatric rheumatologists, only one-fourth of children with childhood arthritis are currently able to see a pediatric rheumatologist. Even when a child with childhood arthritis is able to see a pediatric rheumatologist, often the indirect costs of travel, lost time from work and school are many multiples of the direct health care costs.
The other 75 percent of childhood arthritis patients currently see either pediatricians, who tend not to be adequately trained to care for children with childhood arthritis, or adult rheumatologists, who are not trained to deal with pediatric issues – whether the stunted bone growth that can result from arthritis and its treatment, or the special requirements of providing treatment to an adolescent.
Help Us Make an Impact
The Arthritis Foundation urges Congress to cosponsor H.R.1859 and S.2782. Read more to find out how to alleviate the shortage of pediatric rheumatologists. Read More >>