Pennsylvania fares better than 42 other states in physician-patient ratio |
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Deb Erdley

Pennsylvania might not be in such bad shape after all when it comes to the looming physician shortage.

Experts have long predicted the U.S. is on the verge of a physician shortage, predicted to worsen as the baby boom generation ages and the demand for care increases.

A recent estimate suggests the nation will see a shortfall of up to 120,000 doctors by 2030.

But a new study released Friday suggested Pennsylvania should be among the states least hard hit by the shortage. Researchers found Pennsylvania has 324.5 physicians for every 100,000 people, a ratio exceeded only by 6 other states and Washington, D.C.

Across the nation, access to physicians varies dramatically.

The study found Washington, D.C., ranked first with 866.3 doctors for every 100,000 residents, while Mississippi was last with 186.1 physicians for every 100,000 residents.

The study by the analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

It found more than half of the states already fall below the baseline of 283 physicians per 100,000 residents, the level needed to provide balanced services.

While not all areas of Pennsylvania have equal access to physicians, the new study ranked Pennsylvania 6th in the nation in a count of medical residents nearing the end of their education with 63.7 residents for every 100,000 people.

But with nearly a third of the state’s doctors now 60 or older, there’s little question there will be a need for their services.

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