- In a recent analysis, Mississippi ranked No. 1 in the U.S. as a desirable place for doctors to do business.
- The analysis, by WalletHub, compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 11 metrics.
- Factors influencing desirability included the competition from other doctors, malpractice insurance rates, and cost-of-living adjusted mean annual wage.
While Mississippi ranked first for living-adjusted mean annual wage, opportunity and competition, the state was 17th for medical quality. Indiana, Georgia, Iowa, and Alabama followed on the wage scale, while the District of Columbia came in last.
States with the least punitive state medical boards were South Carolina, D.C., Minnesota, Massachusetts and Connecticut. By contrast, New Mexico, Delaware, Ohio, Louisiana and Wyoming had boards five times more punitive.
When it came to malpractice, WalletHub found a 35-fold difference between states with the lowest award payouts (North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, and North Carolina) and those with the highest (Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island).
Malpractice insurance rates were six times more expensive in West Virginia, D.C., Michigan, Illinois, and New York than they were in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Indiana, and Iowa.
States with high malpractice insurance rates and stiff malpractice laws may scare away doctors, who see those as a burden to their practice, said Mark Dame from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in a Q&A section of the analysis.
The number of insured patients in a state can also be a determining factor. With the Affordable Care Act, more people have basic insurance and primary care physicians receive higher Medicaid reimbursements. However, not all states have taken advantage of Medicaid expansion to increase enrollment.