The best states—and cities—to practice medicine, according to Medscape

New Mexico ranks last

North Carolina ranks first on Medscape's annual list of the best places to practice medicine in the United States, which focuses on factors that affect physicians' quality of life.

For the list, Medscape compiled data from sources including its own Physician Compensation Report, the U.S. Census Bureau, Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Tax Foundation.

See last year's list

For the statewide ranking, researchers evaluated factors such as cost of living, malpractice payouts per capita, and compensation. They also rated individual markets based on economic conditions, overall health, and other quality-of-life considerations, such as lifestyle amenities.

According to Medscape, the top 10 states to practice medicine—and the top-recommended cities in those states—are:

  1. North Carolina (Apex);
  2. Texas (Austin);
  3. Alabama (Birmingham);
  4. Idaho (Boise);
  5. Ohio (Columbus);
  6. Colorado (Denver);
  7. Iowa (Des Moines);
  8. California (Fremont);
  9. Michigan (Grand Rapids); and
  10. Indiana (Indianapolis).

Medscape's Shelly Reese notes that North Carolina may be particularly attractive to clinicians because of its affordable housing and double-digit job growth, and that it is home to six research hospitals and 100 community hospitals.

Meanwhile, Medscape says the worst states to practice medicine—and specific cities to avoid—are:

  1. New Mexico (Albuquerque);
  2. West Virginia (Charleston);
  3. Washington, D.C.;
  4. Mississippi (Jackson); and
  5. Rhode Island (Providence).

Reese notes that New Mexico has one of the highest average malpractice payouts per capita in the United States and faces a large Medicaid deficit and possible reimbursement cuts. In addition, Albuquerque has a high unemployment rate compared with both the national average and surrounding communities (Cryts, FiercePracticeManagement, 5/17; Reese, Medscape, 5/17).  

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