I thank the readers who have emailed comments and questions to The Curious Economist. Recently, several curious readers asked two important anesthesia workforce-related questions, and my responses are the topics of this month's column. The inquiries were:

I examined data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) National Downloadable Files (NDFs) between April 2014 and August 2022 (asamonitor.pub/3tDFACx). These files include National Provider Identifiers (NPIs) and related information for physician and nonphysician specialties that submitted Medicare fee-for-service claims in the previous six months (12 months for NDFs before February 2018). The information in each NDF includes the clinician's name, credentials, specialty, address, gender, medical school, graduation year, affiliated group practice, and up to four hospitals associated with the Medicare claims. I excluded professionals not practicing in the conterminous U.S., Alaska, or Hawaii.

I identified clinicians who left the workforce (“drops”) based on the last year in...

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