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The status of independent physicians by state

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The story of whether independent physicians are declining or rising is different in each state. A Physicians Foundation survey conducted in 2014 found that the highest number of independent physicians were located in Louisiana. According to the survey, 52% of the physicians in that state were practicing as independents. The lowest number of independent physicians was in North Dakota, where only 7% of physicians were in independent practices.

After Louisiana, the next top nine states were: Texas (49%), New Jersey (45%), Illinois (44%), Arkansas (43%), Hawaii (42%), Idaho (42%), Arizona (39%), Utah (38%), and Tennessee (38%). Ranking just above North Dakota, in the bottom ten of the list were Vermont (24%), Minnesota (23%), Massachusetts (23%), Alaska (19%), Indiana (19%), New Mexico (18%), New Hampshire (18%), South Dakota (17%), and Wisconsin (12%).

In 2018, Medscape ranked the “best” and “worst” states in which to practice, based on factors such as “physician compensation, burnout, malpractice, healthcare quality, access to health and rate of uninsured patients, … personal well-being, cost of living, higher education levels, median earnings, tax burden and unemployment.” In their study, Medscape determined the top five states to be:

  1.       North Dakota
  2.       Hawaii
  3.       Nebraska
  4.       Vermont
  5.       Iowa

Medscape determined the bottom five states to be:

  1.       West Virginia
  2.       Louisiana
  3.       Mississippi
  4.       Kentucky
  5.       New Mexico

In contrast, a research study reported by US News & World Report and based on factors included in the categories of “opportunity and competition” and “medical environment” found the ten best states for physicians to be: South Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.