Analysts frequently have used health maintenance organization (HMO) staffing patterns as a yardstick for estimating national clinical workforce requirements. Based on a nationwide survey of fifty-four staff- and group-model HMOs, the largest sample yet used in an analysis of this type, this DataWatch examines physician-to-member ratios, the use of nonphysician providers, and HMOs' methods of estimating clinical staffing needs. Overall physician staffing ratios and primary care physician staffing ratios closely resemble those reported in previous studies, but they exhibit wide variability and are strongly correlated with HMO size. Although caution should be exercised when using HMO staffing ratios in projections of physician workforce requirements, the ratios described here support projections of a specialty physician surplus.
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