The first question everyone wants answered is: Which states have the highest percentage of physicians?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its 2017 health care ranking, which includes a total of 1,000 physicians.
For the first time, it includes a state-by-state breakdown of the doctors per capita.
The states with the highest physician population are Texas (14.9), New York (13.9) and California (13).
The rankings are based on the percentage of health care professionals per capita in the state, per 1,500 people.
The lowest-ranked states are Texas and New York.
The rankings were based on total medical education, not just the number of doctors per 100,000 people.
“Health care access has not improved over time in any state,” said Dr. Daniel Fishel, president of the American College of Physicians, in a statement.
“The number of physicians per 100 million people has remained relatively stagnant for most states over the past several decades.”
Some states like New York, Texas and California are now seeing dramatic changes in their health care system.
New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo (D) announced his plan to create a new health care authority and to give health care officials more autonomy, while Texas Gov.
Greg Abbott (R) announced he will move to expand Medicaid, a health insurance program for the poor.
But even the biggest states like California, New York and Texas are not quite where they need to be to improve access.
The top five states are New York with 9.3 percent of doctors, Texas with 8.4 percent and California with 8 percent.
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that there are a lot of places in the country that are doing pretty well,” said Fisheel.
The next biggest health care-related state is the District of Columbia with 9 percent of health professionals, followed by Texas, Florida and New Jersey with 7.3, 7.2 and 7.1 percent, respectively.
New Jersey has the fifth-highest rate of doctors in the nation.
The other states with a high rate of physicians are Florida, Texas, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
Florida is the only state that has more than 20,000 doctors.
Fishes points to other states like Texas, New Jersey and California that have a lot more people than their state has doctors.
“It’s not surprising that people in those states are choosing to go to doctors because of the quality of care they get,” said Paul J. Browne, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
He said that states that have the least number of primary care doctors also tend to have higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
“This is one of the most important determinants of health outcomes, and there is no doubt that obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are more common in the United States,” Browne said.
The American College’s Fisher noted that the majority of doctors are highly educated and trained.
“If a state is doing a good job of covering its doctors, that means that a lot people are going to get care, and that’s what will affect access to care,” he said.
But it’s not just about having more doctors.
People can benefit from having more care because there are fewer people to treat them, he added.
Doctors also provide the support needed to maintain quality of health.
“You don’t want to go out and go see a doctor and have a bad conversation about something that’s not important,” Browne explained.
“But you can go to a doctor, get some help, and make sure that you are on track with what you need to do to stay healthy.”