Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How Many Anesthesiologists Work In California?

Here are some fun facts from the latest issue of the Medical Board of California newsletter.

Other than the primary care fields (Family Practice, General Practice, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, and Pediatrics), what are the top three specialties to hold active licenses to practice in California?

1. Psychiatry (8,556)
2. Anesthesiology (7,657)
3. Radiology (6,695)

Of the 128,071 physicians who are licensed to practice in California, what are the percentages of the top three specialties?

Psychiatry (7%)
Anesthesiology (6%)
Radiology (5%)

In the top three specialties, what percentage self report holding board certification?

Psychiatry (62%)
Anesthesiology (64%)
Radiology (73%)

So let me get this straight. Over a third of anesthesiologists in California are not board certified? What the hell am I doing spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars maintaining my board certification when thousands of anesthesiologists are practicing without one? You mean one can be a good anesthesiologist without a phony piece of paper from some pompous and self important organization?  Screw you ABA!


  1. I'm one of the "lucky" ones that have a time unlimited ABA certificate. I voluntarily recertified at the last possible time for the old rules and I am good until I'm 64.5 years old. I have no plans to recert again. What I suspect will eventually happen is that payment will be tied to recertification. What will the boards do then when the many with time unlimited certificates get blocked from either hospital staffs or payment?

    And interesting article in the NEJM, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhpr1211043#t=article has some interesting statistics. Only about 1% of Internists out of nearly 67,000 with unlimited certificates have have recertified through MOC. From the article, "Like ABIM, other specialties also report low recertification rates among their diplomates with time-unlimited certificates, including dermatology (8%), nuclear medicine (12%), plastic surgery (5%), and urology (1%)." I suspect the MOC will be an issue in the "turf wars" that are also coming with nurses, pharmacists and others verses physicians.

    There are more Psychiatrists than Anesthesiologists in California? Really? Well, looking at the AAMC 2008 data, indeed there are more psychiatrists than anesthesiologists. I guess that tells me which groups I run in... Interesting, in the 2008 report (for 2007 numbers) 35% of anesthesiologists were over 55. https://www.aamc.org/download/47352/data