Part of the community of physicians in the United States was decimated over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients could not come to hospitals or doctor’s offices for fear of infection. Doctors who performed procedures like plastic surgery could see few, if any, patients at all. The strain on their financials was such that some ran out of money. Others, particularly older doctors who could, simply retired.
Other doctors became extremely overworked. Emergency rooms were overcrowded or overflowed because of the pandemic. The ER specialists worked long hours, and for some this went on for months. Some doctors burned out and may never return to the practice of medicine again.
A major question about the future of medicine is whether, because of departures from the industry, there will be enough physicians for the needs of the general population, particularly in areas that were already underserved.
WalletHub’s recent 2022’s Best & Worst States for Doctors report points out that doctors are well paid, for the most part. The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that doctors from some specialties were among the highest paid professionals in the country. This includes psychiatrists, obstetrician-gynecologists and surgeons.
The WalletHub study reviewed 19 metrics. The best possible total rating was 100. Among the yardsticks considered was the level of competition by state. Competition took into account both the number of doctors and data on hospitals. Another measure was medical environment, which included the quality of state health care systems and malpractice. Information was pulled 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, Professional Boundaries, Leapfrog Group, Public Health Accreditation Board, Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, WebMD, BoardVitals and MEDPLI Insurance Services.
The worst state for doctors was Rhode Island, with a score of 39.84. This compared to the top state, South Dakota, with a score of 69.37.
These are the 10 worst states for doctors:
- Rhode Island (39.84)
- New York (43.17)
- District of Columbia (44.01)
- Delaware (45.49)
- New Jersey (45.67)
- Alaska (46.00)
- Hawaii (47.12)
- Vermont (48.74)
- Massachusetts (49.89)
- Oregon (49.90)
Click here to see which doctors are most likely to burn out.
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