With National Doctors’ Day on March 30th and family physicians’ salaries varying from $130,000 to $310,000 depending on the state, WalletHub has unveiled its latest report on the Best & Worst States for Doctors in 2024. The study revealed that Montana ranks 1st with Utah not far behind at 4th. The research is intended to assist physicians in identifying regions where they can achieve financial success and find quality employment opportunities.

To determine the best states for doctors, as well as those offering optimal healthcare for patients, WalletHubconducted a comparison of all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 19 key metrics. These metrics span from the average annual wage of physicians to the number of hospitals per capita to the quality of the public hospital system.

Cassandra Happe, an analyst at WalletHub, emphasized the profound impact of residing in favorable states for medical professionals.

“Living in one of the best states for doctors can make a big difference for your medical career,” Happe noted. “In addition to making more money, you will also be able to work in higher-quality hospital environments, be less likely to burn out, and pay less for malpractice insurance. For everyone else, living in one of the best states for doctors can lead to quality healthcare.”

The top-ranking state in WalletHub’s analysis is Montana, with Utah ranked 4th, Idaho securing the 8th position, Wyoming at 16th, Colorado at 21st, Nevada at 23rd, and Arizona at 25th.

Dr. Jan K. Carney, Associate Dean for Public Health & Health Policy at the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine, emphasized the importance of community health in shaping medical professionals’ lives.

“A positive overall culture and environment supporting health includes collaboration with public health agencies, social service organizations, and local communities to focus on the broad range of factors influencing health,” Dr. Carney stated. “These include promoting health equity, attention to specific needs of rural communities, addressing food security and housing needs, and providing ample public education about health.

“An environment where there is a collaborative culture between healthcare, academic institutions, government, and social service organizations may provide opportunities to practice healthcare as well as meet the health and social needs of patients, a rewarding professional environment.”

Addressing contemporary challenges faced by doctors, Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health, outlined concerns including diminishing autonomy.

“Doctors are finding their decision-making and independence becoming increasingly restricted by hospital and healthcare system administrators, insurance companies, politicians, and others who may be motivated by things other than science and the well-being of patients,” Dr. Lee explained.

He also pointed to excessive workload leading to burnout, more resources going to administration and less to those actually caring for patients, and the prevalence of misinformation in science and medicine.

WalletHub’s evaluation of states encompassed two primary dimensions: “Opportunity & Competition” and “Medical Environment,” evaluating each across 19 relevant metrics. The resulting scores were used to rank-order the states, providing insights into the landscape of medical practice across the country.

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