It is true that when people select their GP physician from a list of physicians on their HMO plan or out of a phone book, the majority more often than not bypass the DO's in favor of the MD's simply because they have no idea what a DO is, nor do they want to take the time to find out what a DO is. On the surface it would appear that DO's are a dwindling group among physicians. But do DO's actually receive less patient clientele as compared to MD's? Even if the answer is yes--which I'm not yet convinced it is--the difference in clientele proportions are likely insignificant and inconsequential. First, as any GP physician will tell you, a successful practice is established by word of mouth and not by a huge number of people who scan their HMO plans or telephone book and then select your name because they like the way it sounds. That is to say, the success of your practice is dependent upon if the majority of the patients you treat believe you are a good doctor, and hence they then suggest you to their friends and family, who in turn spread the word about you. The letters after your name become irrelevant at this stage. Secondly, there will exist a minority of people who do indeed know what DO's are, and who will indeed actively seek you out for treatment because you are a DO. Thirdly, if you work in a hospital as a brain surgeon, for example, then you will be known as a brain surgeon and you will be sought out because you are a brain surgeon. The reality of a hospital atmosphere is that you become important to people because of what you can do and not because of the letters behind your name. Also, I should note that DO's tend to enter primary care fields where there is a great need for physicians. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this suggests that DO's are likely treating a comparitively large portion of health care consumers.