by Jason Salber, MD

As a radiologist who practices in Boise Idaho I couldn’t agree more with the recent release from Physicians Practice:

REPORT NAMES IDAHO THE BEST STATE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE 

Physicians Practice this month released its list of the “Best States to Practice” for 2012, which  ranks locations based on malpractice frequency, cost of living, reimbursements, and other physician-related criteria. 

For the list, the physician practice management advice firm assessed each state on six metrics considered important to physicians–although did not consider climate, cultural activities, or recreational pursuits–and found that the top four places to practice medicine are:

Idaho;

Mississippi;

Tennessee; and

Texas.

 

Meanwhile, they determined that the six worst places to practice are:

New York;

Hawaii;

Maryland;

The District of Columbia

New Jersey; and

Connecticut.

 

Top states boast low costs and low malpractice risks 

Bob Keaveney, editorial director of Physicians Practice, says Idaho’s low cost of living and independent culture makes it the best state for practicing medicine for the second year in a row. Since Idaho is a less physician-dense state, physicians can also enjoy their full scope of practice. 

Meanwhile, Tennessee boasts the lowest cost of living in the country and has no state income tax, according to Tennessee Medical Association President Wiley Robinson. Moreover, the state’s physicians formed a physician-owned mutual company in the 1970s that provides malpractice coverage and encourages physicians to set up small, independent practices. 

Texas physicians have fewer malpractice concerns than in other states, according toTexas Medical Association President Michael Speer. The state has attracted over 10,000 physicians to practice in the state since 2003.

High taxes and high malpractice payouts stress physicians

Tourism-driven states like New York and Hawaii rank at the bottom of the list partly because of their high taxes and high risk of malpractice suits, which can overshadow the benefits of living in metropolitan areas or ideal climates.

(Westgate, Physicians Practice report, 10/10; UPI, 10/15; Rao, “Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 10/15).

Growing up in California I had always envisioned I would return to the state for practice after training.  But after looking at multiple jobs it didn’t work out that way and I couldn’t be happier.  I have to give thanks to my wife’s parents for bringing up the possibility of Idaho after they returned from a trip to the Boise area.  I have not been disappointed.  I continue to tell my family and friends that the combination of practicing and living in Idaho makes it feel as if I won the lottery.