Best & Worst States for Doctors as Reported by WalettHub; 2021

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  State Total Score  Opportunity & Competition  Medical Environment 
1 Montana 69.63 24 4
2 Minnesota 67.07 20 9
3 Idaho 66.95 16 6
4 Wisconsin 66.47 15 12
5 Kansas 64.76 7 8
6 Tennessee 64.36 9 15
7 North Dakota 64.21 28 23
8 Nebraska 63.51 6 3
9 Mississippi 62.64 12 29
10 Iowa 62.45 4 32
11 Arizona 62.04 17 34
12 Alabama 61.75 1 28
13 Maine 60.88 41 1
14 South Dakota 59.56 11 50
15 Georgia 58.61 29 20
16 Utah 58.58 48 2
17 Oklahoma 58.51 2 26
18 Louisiana 58.29 19 30
19 Nevada 57.92 40 38
20 Kentucky 57.77 13 45
21 West Virginia 57.52 30 42
22 Indiana 56.88 3 17
23 Missouri 56.60 5 33
24 Texas 55.99 25 7
25 North Carolina 55.94 8 5
26 Wyoming 55.90 26 48
27 Washington 55.56 36 21
28 Colorado 55.33 38 14
29 Michigan 54.76 21 19
30 Florida 53.52 23 27
31 Pennsylvania 53.19 35 24
32 Arkansas 52.84 10 31
33 Ohio 52.66 14 35
34 South Carolina 52.35 18 44
35 Vermont 52.34 42 10
36 California 52.29 47 13
37 Virginia 51.92 37 18
38 New Mexico 51.67 34 40
39 Oregon 51.42 32 25
40 Illinois 50.50 27 51
41 Maryland 50.42 46 37
42 New Hampshire 50.36 22 43
43 Hawaii 48.07 44 39
44 Connecticut 47.37 49 22
45 Delaware 47.27 31 36
46 Massachusetts 45.68 50 16
47 New Jersey 44.91 43 41
48 District of Columbia 44.68 51 11
49 New York 44.38 45 47
50 Alaska 42.78 33 49
51 Rhode Island 39.73 39 46

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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