Background: An unanticipated decrease in applications to podiatric medical schools in the late 1990s has resulted in a decline in the number of podiatric physicians per capita in the United States. This study explores the implications of five possible scenarios for addressing this decline.
Methods: With the help of an advisory committee and data from the American Podiatric Medical Association, projections of the supply of podiatric physicians were developed using five different scenarios of the future. Projections of several factors related to the demand for podiatric physicians were also developed based on a review of the literature.
Results: The projections reveal that unless the number of graduations of new podiatric physicians increases dramatically, the supply will not keep up with the increasing demand for their services.
Conclusion: The growing supply-demand gap revealed by this study will be an important challenge for the podiatric medical profession to overcome during the next couple of decades.
Background: We sought to examine the economic value of specialized lower-extremity medical care by podiatric physicians in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers by evaluating cost outcomes for patients with diabetic foot ulcer who did and did not receive care from a podiatric physician in the year before the onset of a foot ulcer.
Methods: We analyzed the economic value among commercially insured patients and Medicare-eligible patients with employer-sponsored supplemental medical benefits using the MarketScan Databases. The analysis consisted of two parts. In part I, we examined cost or savings per patient associated with care by podiatric physicians using propensity score matching and regression techniques; in part II, we extrapolated cost or savings to populations.
Results: Matched and regression-adjusted results indicated that patients who visited a podiatric physician had $13,474 lower costs in commercial plans and $3,624 lower costs in Medicare plans during 2-year follow-up (P < .01 for both). A positive net present value of increasing the share of patients at risk for diabetic foot ulcer by 1% was found, with a range of $1.2 to $17.7 million for employer-sponsored plans and $1.0 to $12.7 million for Medicare plans.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that podiatric medical care can reduce the disease and economic burdens of diabetes. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(2): 93–115, 2011)