Study: Texas Ranks in the Bottom Half of Best States for Doctors

Business, Featured

Doctors and nurses | Image by Blue Planet Studio

Texas landed in the bottom half of best places in the U.S. to be a physician, according to a new study — partly because the Lone Star State has the lowest insured population rate of all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

The WalletHub 2022 Best & Worst States for Doctors ranked Texas at No.27.

“Some of the things that make a state attractive to doctors are low competition and the opportunity for employment and high wages,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub. “The quality of the medical environment is another important factor that attracts doctors to a state.”

The WalletHub study listed South Dakota in first place.

“South Dakota is the best state to practice medicine because it has the highest average annual wage for physicians as well as the highest average monthly starting salary, a large number of hospitals per capita, and [an] Interstate Medical Licensure Compact law,” Gonzalez told The Dallas Express.

In comparison, WalletHub data determined that Texas ranks No.30 for average annual wage of physicians.

“To catch up with South Dakota, Texas would need to have higher average annual wages and monthly starting salaries for physicians, more hospitals, a higher insured population rate, a higher employer-based insurance rate, a higher projected share of the elderly population, a better ranking for current competition, and the Medical Licensure Compact Law implemented,” Gonzalez said in an interview.

However, WalletHub found that the Lone Star State ranked second for malpractice award payout amount per capita. Other areas in which Texas ranked higher include the share of medical residents retained, at 59%, and the presence of nationally accredited health departments.

“The fact that Texas has the second-lowest malpractice award payout amount per capita means that the doctors who practice medicine in the state are very good, and there are very few medical liability cases,” Gonzalez said.

The study further found that the annual malpractice liability insurance rate in Texas is $10,474 — compared to $8,348 in the overall best state, South Dakota — and that Texas ranked dead last when it comes to the rate of insured people, at No.51.

“Texas, at 82.8%, has the lowest percentage of insured population,” Gonzalez said. “The insured population rate for all the other states is higher.”

In comparison, 90.5% of the population is insured in South Dakota.

Gonzalez explained that the insured population rate is included in the study because it factors into determining the degree of opportunity for a doctor in a state.

“The higher the insured rate is, the more opportunities there are for doctors to practice,” she said.

At No.51 overall, Rhode Island ranked even lower than Texas in terms of best states for physicians, partly because of its low average annual physician wage and monthly starting salary and its small number of hospitals per capita.

“States that are attractive to doctors are able to offer their residents a higher quality healthcare system,” Gonzalez added. “This increases the quality of life and has the potential to attract more people to the state, which can only bring economic benefits.”

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