DefinitionThis Indicator Report includes two measures of physician supply: [[br]]
1) Active physicians per 10,000 civilian population.[[br]]
2) Primary care physicians per 10,000 civilian population.
Numerator1) Number of active physicians.[[br]]
2) Number of primary care physicians.
Data Interpretation IssuesThis indicator includes two measures of physician supply:
1) 'Active Physicians' are defined as those physicians currently engaged in patient care or other professional activity for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Other professional activity includes administration, medical teaching, research, and more. This measure has been reported by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the President and the Congress of the United Stated in the annual report, the most recent of which is 'Health, United States 2017'. Data are based on reporting by physicians.
2) 'Primary Care Physicians' include non-federal M.D.s and D.O.s under age 75 who are not hospital residents and whose major professional activity is patient care in General Practice; General Family Medicine; General Internal Medicine; or General Pediatrics. This information comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Area Health Resource File (AHRF) that utilizes the American Medical Association Physician Masterfiles.
Why Is This Important?The ratio of physicians to persons in a population is an indication of the adequacy of the health system and the access to care for persons in that population.
Healthy People Objective AHS-4.1:(Developmental) Increase the number of practicing medical doctors
U.S. Target: Developmental
How Are We Doing?In 2016, the ratio of primary care physicians to population varied between Utah's 13 local health districts (LHDs) from 12.6 per 10,000 in Summit County Health District to 2.2 in Tooele County Health District. This ratio varied among Utah's 29 counties from 12.6 per 10,000 people in Summit and 12.5 in Grand County to 0 in Daggett, Piute, and Rich Counties. It must be kept in mind that primary care physicians are classified by county, but physicians who practice in multiple locations may see patients who reside in surrounding counties.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?The ratio of active physicians to persons in the Utah population has been lower than the U.S. ratio for all years reported. In 2015, there were 29.2 active physicians per 10,000 population in the U.S. compared to 23.1 per 10,000 in Utah.
In 2016, the ratio of primary care physicians to population was also lower in Utah (5.65 per 10,000) when compared to the U.S. (7.54 per 10,000).
What Is Being Done?The Utah Department of Health, Office of Primary Care and Rural Health (OPCRH) administers multiple programs to assist in the recruitment and retention of physicians to rural and underserved communities in Utah.
Two state funded programs, the Rural Physician Loan Repayment Program and the Health Care Workforce Financial Assistance Program, offer student loan repayment to physicians, dentists, and mid-level providers in exchange for working in underserved areas.
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) also administers loan repayment and scholarship programs to healthcare providers who work in rural and/or federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). The Primary Care Office (PCO), within the OPCRH, evaluates the health professional shortages in the state and submits applications to receive a federal HPSA designation. The PCO also coordinates the NHSC programs for the state.
The OPCRH coordinates the Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver program which recruits foreign trained physicians to practice in underserved communities in the state.
The OPCRH also supports 3RNet, a job board for healthcare providers to be matched with rural and underserved facilities that are actively recruiting providers.