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June 12, 2020

The best (and worst) states for doctors, according to Medscape

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    For the second consecutive year, Minnesota ranks first in Medscape's annual list of the best places to practice medicine in the United States, which this year included metrics on "medical preparedness for and responsiveness" to America's new coronavirus epidemic.

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    For the list, Medscape ranked states based on metrics regarding physician well-being, the fiscal and regulatory landscape affecting physicians in each state, the state health system's overall performance, the state's handling of the new coronavirus epidemic, a state's overall livability, and more. Medscape reviewed data from more than a dozen different sources, including its own reports on physician compensation; physician burnout, depression, and suicide; and lifestyle and happiness; as well as data from the Commonwealth FundKaiser Family FoundationWalletHub, and others.


    Medscape noted that, while the country's new coronavirus epidemic "will continue to be fluid as hot spots migrated and states begin to" reopen nonessential businesses and relax restrictions intended to curb the virus' spread, "doctors might now consider social distancing, surge capacity, flattened curves, and government responsiveness" when deciding where to practice. "[D]octors want to practice medicine where they feel supported and where their families can thrive," Medscape said.


    According to Medscape, the 10 best states in which to practice medicine in 2020 are:

    1. Minnesota;
    2. Washington;
    3. Massachusetts;
    4. North Dakota;
    5. Vermont;
    6. New Hampshire;
    7. Colorado;
    8. Utah;
    9. Nebraska; and
    10. Idaho.

    Medscape's Shelly Reese reports that Minnesota has one of the best public hospital systems in the country and ranks among America's 10 healthiest states. The state also has a "well-crafted crisis standards-of-care-plan" and an overall "low rate of adverse actions against physicians," Reese reports.

    Meanwhile, according to Medscape, the five worst states in which to practice medicine in 2020 are:

    1. Arizona;
    2. Mississippi;
    3. South Carolina;
    4. Nevada; and
    5. West Virginia.

    According to Reese, Arizona had a comparatively high rate of adverse actions against physicians, and the state scored low on metrics evaluating its response to the new coronavirus epidemic. The state also had low scores for compensation, health system quality, livability, and population health, Reese reports. However, according to Reese, physicians in the state reported less burnout and a higher degree of happiness outside of work when compared with some other states (Reese, Medscape 2020 Best & Worst Places to Practice, 6/9).

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