New Data on RI's Doctor Supply

Nov 13, 2013

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released state-by-state profiles of the physician workforce for 2012. And in Rhode Island, here are the highlights (see the full profile here):

Percent of residents and fellows retained after graduation, by state. (Click to enlarge.)
Credit Association of American Medical Colleges

  • We have about 338 physicians per 100,000 people. That's the fourth highest ratio in the country (Massachusetts takes the top spot).
  • We have about 114 primary care physicians per 100,000 people. That also puts us in fourth place in the nation. Not bad.
  • When it comes to how many docs we keep in the state after they finish medical school, we're not doing as well. We rank 47th in the nation, with just 31% staying in Rhode Island to practice medicine, much lower than the national median of 45%.
  • About 26% of our physicians are aged 60 or older, in line with lots of other states.
  • 35% of our doctors are women, putting us in 8th place nationwide by that measure.

What do these numbers mean? Well, it looks to me as though we have a pretty decent supply of physicians. But we need to work on getting med school grads to stay here, especially in light of the fact that a quarter of our physician workforce is nearing retirement. As for primary care, it looks like we have a decent number now. But I'm not sure how those primary care doctors are distributed throughout the state, or whether we have enough to deal with all the new patients they'll be taking on as many Rhode Islanders enroll for the first time in a health insurance plan next year.