Report Information


Data Background Information

The physician related data used for this site is collected through surveys all physicians complete when they renew their licenses to practice medicine in Georgia with the Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB). Thanks to the cooperation and support from the GCMB, the Georgia Board is able to secure a 100% response rate from active Georgia physicians. With only a few exceptions, all survey questions are answered by each physician, including questions on specialty, practice location. Utilizing this data, the Georgia Board is able to show the various characteristics of the physician workforce in this state, ranging from practice characteristics, practice location, specialty, and the demographics of the physician workforce.

In addition, the Georgia Board provides information on the capacity of certain health care facilities. These include hospitals and nursing homes. This data is derived from the Annual Hospital Questionnaire and the Annual Nursing Home Questionnaire. These surveys are administered by the Georgia Department of Community Health


Physician-related Terms

Physician Specialty Physician specialties are self determined. While every physician shares a large body of similar knowledge and skills they receive in medical school, all must specialize into any one of a number of specialties, ranging from primary care to sub-specialties. Each of these specialties provides a unique set of skills which overlap with certain other specialties but also are not shared by most other specialties. A complete list and description of each of the various specialties can be found at

Population These tables use current population estimates and projections based on the State of Georgia™s Civilian Non-Institutional (CNI) population. This population is generated by the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget

Medicare Medicare is a federal insurance program that supports the elderly and permanently disabled. Questions asked include: Do you accept Medicare patients? and Do you accept NEW Medicare patients?

Medicaid Medicaid is a federal insurance program that supports mothers, children and the disabled. Beneficiaries of this program must earn less than a certain income to qualify. Question asked include: Do you accept Medicaid patients? and Do you accept NEW Medicaid patients?

Managed Care Question asked: Do you contract with a managed care organization?


Terms and Standards Used to Report Adequacy of Physician Workforce

National Physician Standards The standards used by the Georgia Board utilize existing standards developed by numerous entities at the national level, including the American Medical Association, the Graduate Medical Education National Advisory Committee, and numerous insurance bodies. These show figures for optimal presence of physicians, by specialty and per 100,000 Population. Collectively, they help provide a picture of when physician specialties are present in adequate numbers, are in surplus or are in deficit.

Average Requirement - This figure averages the figures cited as optimal for physician presence by each of the bodies cited in the report. It accounts for the variability between each of the shown standards and is utilized by the Georgia Board to assess the adequacy of the physician workforce in Georgia.

Deficit Deficit is defined as being below the requirement for a specific standard. By determining a region to be in deficit, the Board is indicating that there are too few physicians of a certain specialty in a defined geographic area. Ultimately, this indicates that the citizens of that area may face hardship when trying to reach a specialty that is in deficit.

Adequate Adequate is defined as being the same as the requirement for a specific standard. If a specialty and geographic area are determined to be adequate it means that a sufficient number of physicians of that specialty are practicing in the area to meet the demand for their services. This range is the target for all specialties and all geographic areas.

Surplus Surplus is defined as being above the requirement for a specific standard. If a specialty in a geographic area is determined to be in surplus it indicates that there are too many of that specialty of physician in that geographic area. These areas are oversupplied with these physicians.


Geography Specific Terms

AHEC (Area Health Education Centers): Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) were started by the federal government in the late 1970's as programs designed to address health workforce distribution through community based initiatives. Today, six regional AHEC offices serve the state, with the smallest located in the Atlanta area and which is comprised of three metro counties. The remaining 5 AHECs are spread out across the state, consisting of multiple counties and focusing their efforts on the Northwestern, Northeastern, West Central, Southwestern and Southeastern parts of the state.

MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area): The general concept of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is one of a large population nucleus, together with adjacent communities that have a high degree of economic and social integration with that nucleus. The MA classification is a statistical standard, developed by the Federal Office of Management and Budget. Each MA must contain either a place with a minimum population of 50,000 or a Census Bureau-defined urbanized area and a total MA population of at least 100,000. The 100,000 total requirement applies to the one or more counties which may comprise the metro area in question.

PCSA (Primary Care Service Area): PCSAs were developed for the Georgia Board and approved in 1998. PCSA™s were determined by examining health care utilization patterns of the citizens of individual counties. Ultimately, ninety-six (96) areas were designated by applying two criteria to a review of data in the 1998 Georgia Hospital Questionnaire i.e. The criteria included:

  1. a PCSA was designated if at least 30% of the patients received care in their county of residence or
  2. if a county received less than 30% of its residents as patients, it was assigned to the county where the majority of its residents go for primary care.

SCSA (Secondary Care Service Area): SCSAs were developed for the Georgia Board and approved in 1998. They were based on the twelve (12) areas were defined by the General Assembly during the 1998 legislative session (see definition below). To support the use of the regions as SCSA™s, the regions were evaluated by variables such as Social Economic Status, Health Status, and Population over 65. The result of the analysis validated the 12 areas of need at the secondary level of care.

PHD (Public Health District): Georgia has 19 Public Health Districts that follow county boundaries. Districts were determined by the Georgia Division of Public Health.

State Service Delivery Regions: The Georgia General Assembly passed legislation in which establishes 12 state service delivery regions. This legislation created 12 regions for the purpose of delivering state services to local units of government and citizens and for the purpose of establishing boundaries for the regions. Each of Georgia's 159 counties is designated for inclusion in one of the service delivery regions. Public health districts and mental health districts were not affected by this alignment.


Facility Specific Terms

Hospitals Hospitals includes only general hospitals operating in the state of Georgia. This figure excludes federally qualified health centers (also know as community health centers), critical access hospitals, and state run hospitals.

Nursing Homes this includes only nursing home facilities licensed and operating in this state. This figure excludes personal care homes, assisted living facilities and other less intensive health care settings.

Avg. Occupancy Reports the number of beds typically being utilized/occupied on any given day. This figure is reported in terms of percent of total beds typically being used on any given day at that facility. It is calculated by dividing the total number of bed days available (as determined by multiplying the total beds in a facility by the number of days in that year) by the in-patient days or total days reported used for that facility.

In-Patient Days This term is specific to hospitals. It reports a census count of the total number of days individuals were admitted into the hospital and stayed over night. This data is calculated as the cumulative sum of all days each individual served by that hospital stayed, overnight, at that hospital.

Total Days Specific to nursing facilities. It reports a census count of the total number of days individuals living at a particular facility stayed at that facility. This data is calculated as the cumulative sum of all days each individual served by that facility stayed at that facility in any year.

Total Admissions Specific to hospitals, this figure reports the total number of patients admitted for an overnight stay at a hospital.

Avg. Stay Specific to hospitals, reports the average number of days patients stay in a hospital after being admitted into that hospital. This is calculated by dividing the total number of inpatient days reported for a hospital by the total admissions for that hospital.