According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, the United States needs an additional 15,000 primary care physicians to meet its current demand for health care services. Physician shortages can make it difficult for patients to access the health care they need and contribute to negative health consequences.
As the aging baby boom generation continues to require increased medical care, demand for health care professionals will likely increase, and the national doctor shortage will likely worsen.
In some more rural parts of the country, the shortage of doctors is far more acute. While the HRSA defines an area with a population-to-primary care physician ratio greater than 3,500-to-1 as underserved, there are counties with more than 20,000 residents that are served by just one doctor. Faced with declining populations and low educational attainment, these rural counties struggle to attract and retain physicians.
To determine the counties in every state where there are no doctors, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed data on primary care physicians per capita from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.