Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate factors associated with cause for attrition from obstetrics among family physicians in Mississippi and to identify enhancing factors for those practicing obstetrics.
Study design: A twenty-two item self-addressed survey was utilized.
Population: All identifiable allopathic and osteopathic family physicians currently practicing in Mississippi.
Outcomes measured: Factors that contribute to decisions by family physicians to practice or not practice obstetrics.
Results: Of the 652 surveys mailed, 235 (36%) were returned. Twenty-seven respondents indicated that they provide prenatal care. Fifteen of these performed non-emergent vaginal deliveries; ten provided the full spectrum of obstetrical care. There was a significant difference in the number of months of OB training between respondents who do non-emergent vaginal deliveries and those who did not. Personal interest and training ranked highest as influences for physicians practicing obstetrics. Factors associated with the decision not to practice included high malpractice premiums and the perception that other local physicians provide obstetrics.
Conclusions: According to study results, most Mississippi family physicians are not practicing obstetrics. The influence of high malpractice premiums and the influence of the length of OB training on the physicians' choice to practice OB require additional investigation.