Best & Worst States for Doctors as Reported by WalettHub; 2020

The following article and study was published by WalettHub on March 16, 2020.  The company provides consumers with very valuable information beyond healthcare.  We encourage you to visit their website and discover how valuable it is.  https://wallethub.com

ABOUT WALLETHUB

Doctors are one of the most essential professions, especially as the threat of coronavirus grows in the U.S. Doctors are on the front lines helping to combat the spread of this disease. Containing coronavirus, or COVID-19, will not only help America’s health but will also be essential for the healing of our economy.

Doctors are well compensated for the hard work they do to keep patients healthy. They are among the highest-paid and most educated professionals in the U.S. In fact, “physician” was the highest-paid job type in 2019, with a median base salary of over $193,000 and over 3,700 job openings during the year. The high salary average makes sense, given the importance of their life-saving work and the struggles that come with life in the medical profession. However, doctors don’t always start out wealthy. The average medical-school graduate leaves campus with around $194,000 debt.

In order to help doctors decide where to practice, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 19 key metrics. Our data set ranges from average annual wage of physicians to hospitals per capita to quality of public hospital system. Check out the complete ranking, additional expert commentary and a full description of our methodology below.

Best States to Practice Medicine

Overall Rank
(1=Best)
State Total Score ‘Opportunity & Competition’ Rank ‘Medical Environment’ Rank
1 Montana 71.19 22 1
2 Wisconsin 69.61 16 4
3 Idaho 68.12 14 16
4 North Dakota 68.01 23 27
5 Minnesota 66.73 26 10
6 Kansas 66.65 6 7
7 Iowa 66.29 1 31
8 Tennessee 65.92 17 12
9 Mississippi 65.30 5 24
10 Nebraska 64.95 3 6
11 Alabama 62.75 18 25
12 South Dakota 62.44 11 45
13 Oklahoma 62.43 2 18
14 Nevada 62.11 35 40
15 Utah 60.75 40 2
16 Arizona 59.24 28 35
17 North Carolina 58.96 4 3
18 Wyoming 58.75 34 51
19 South Carolina 58.70 19 38
20 West Virginia 58.38 8 46
21 Missouri 58.31 24 33
22 Florida 57.92 20 28
23 Maine 57.88 41 9
24 Washington 57.56 36 20
25 Georgia 57.46 32 23
26 Colorado 57.27 29 21
27 Michigan 56.74 15 17
28 Indiana 56.50 10 14
29 Texas 56.41 21 8
30 Arkansas 55.63 9 29
31 Kentucky 55.26 7 49
32 New Mexico 54.69 39 37
33 Pennsylvania 54.60 27 26
34 Louisiana 54.27 13 32
35 Virginia 54.06 37 13
36 Oregon 52.48 30 15
37 New Hampshire 51.83 25 39
38 California 51.50 48 11
39 Ohio 51.39 12 34
40 Illinois 50.77 33 47
41 Vermont 50.22 42 30
42 Hawaii 48.89 45 48
43 Delaware 48.88 31 41
44 Maryland 48.75 47 42
45 District of Columbia 47.63 51 5
46 New Jersey 47.16 43 36
47 Alaska 47.07 38 44
48 Massachusetts 46.97 49 19
49 Connecticut 45.37 46 22
50 Rhode Island 44.83 44 43
51 New York 37.40 50 50

Methodology

In order to identify the best states for doctors, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, “Opportunity & Competition” and “Medical Environment.”

We evaluated those dimensions using 18 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for practicing doctors.

We then determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Opportunity & Competition – Total Points: 70

  • Physicians’ Average Annual Wage: Double Weight (~11.67 Points)
    Note: Data for this metric were adjusted for the cost of living.
  • Physicians’ Average Monthly Starting Salary: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
    Note: Data for this metric were adjusted for the cost of living.
  • Hospitals per Capita: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
  • Insured Population Rate: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
    Note: “Population” includes noninstitutionalized civilians aged 16 and older.
  • Employer-Based Insurance Rate: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
  • Projected Share of Elderly Population: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the projected percentage of the population aged 65 and older by 2030.
  • Current Competition: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
    Note: This metric measures both the number of physicians per 1,000 Residents and the percentage of the population living in a primary-care HPSA, or Health Professional Shortage Area. HPSAs, as defined by the Health Resources & Services Administration, “are designations that indicate health care provider shortages in: Primary care; Dental health; or Mental Health” and “may be geographic-, population-, or facility-based.”
  • Share of Medical Residents Retained: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
    Note: The metric measures the net number of medical residents being added to the physician workforce of each state.
  • Projected Competition: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the projected number of physicians per 1,000 Residents by 2026.
  • Number of CME Credits Required: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
    Note: “CME” stands for Continuing Medical Education, credits for which the state may require medical professionals to earn in order to maintain their licenses.
  • Presence of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Law: Full Weight (~5.83 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on data from the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and considers whether compact legislation has been enacted, introduced or not been introduced.

Medical Environment – Total Points: 30

  • Quality of Public Hospital System: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Hospitals Safety – Percentage of “A” Hospitals: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on data from Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade which ranked hospitals across the states based on 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data.
  • Presence of Nationally Accredited Health Departments: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)
    Note: This binary metric measures the presence or absence of national accredited health departments in a state.
  • Physician Assistants per Capita: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)
  • Punitiveness of State Medical Board: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the number of serious disciplinary actions (per 1,000 physicians) taken by the state medical board.
  • Malpractice Award Payout Amount per Capita: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)
  • Annual Malpractice Liability Insurance Rate: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Council for Community and Economic Research, Health Resources & Services Administration, Association of American Medical Colleges, Projections Central’s State Occupational Projections, DBC Pri-Med, Professional Boundaries, Leapfrog Group, Public Health Accreditation Board, Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Diederich Healthcare.

 

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