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Miami: "Growing concerns about shortage of neurologists" to dx ASD in kids

Aug 13, 2023 NBC Miami: Families wait months to see child neurologists due to shortage. Hospitals are working on solutions
There are growing concerns about a shortage of neurologists across the country. In particular, child neurologists. …

Locally, at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, wait times for appointments can be up to four months. One local mother told NBC6 she was told it would be 6-8 months until a neurologist could see her son be evaluated for autism.

“It is estimated that there is a shortage of about 20% for child neurologists in the country and some estimate that this is a conservative value and that it could be higher than that,” medical director of Pediatric Neurology Dr. Diana Martinez said.

The CDC says one in 36 children in the United States are diagnosed with autism and doctors say more than one in five have some form of neurodevelopmental disorder.

Patients who see a pediatric neurologist have chronic conditions, meaning they are followed for years up until they’re 21 years old, which means there isn’t a lot of turnover in patients. Hospitals, such as Joe DiMaggio’s, say they are working on solutions.

“We’ve been working really hard at continuing to find ways to make this better," Dr. Martinez said. "One of the ways is that we have implemented a new on-set seizure clinic so if the child was seen in the ER for a possible seizure, that Friday, that child will be put into that Friday clinic."


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