WalletHub: The top states for physician pay

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Iowa is the best state for practicing physicians, according to this year's list from WalletHub.

Doctors practicing in Indiana have the highest annual wage, according to a new report, while those working in the District of Columbia make the least.

WalletHub, a financial planning site, ranked Iowa as the best state for doctors in this year’s list. The state ranked highly for annual physician wage (4th) and was also noted for its fairly inexpensive malpractice insurance (only Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas and Indiana were less expensive), according to the report. The complete top five includes:

  1. Iowa
  2. Minnesota
  3. Idaho
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Kansas

The five worst states for physicians were:

  1. New York
  2. District of Columbia
  3. New Jersey
  4. Maryland
  5. Rhode Island

The research team used 14 metrics to rank the states, including annual wage, starting salary, the number of hospitals per capita, competition and physicians’ share of elderly patients. Quality measures, like the quality of public health systems and malpractice payouts, were also included.

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Some other notable findings from the report:

  • North Dakota ranked lowest for malpractice award payouts per capita, while New York’s payouts were the highest. Payouts in New York were 35 times higher than those in North Dakota.
  • New York, which ranked as the worst state for doctors on the report, also had the most expensive rates for malpractice insurance. It was six times more expensive than insurance in Wisconsin, the cheapest state.
  • Physicians in South Carolina work under the least punitive medical boards, while medical boards in Wyoming are the most punitive. Wyoming medical boards were five times more likely to penalize physicians than those in South Carolina.

R. Gregory Cochran, associate director of the University of California San Francisco/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy, told WalletHub that the cost of malpractice insurance is among the most important factors physicians consider in a move as the threat of malpractice suits is often on the minds of doctors.