Although physicians nationwide report signs of struggle, there are pockets of the country where practicing medicine is more pleasant than average. Mississippi leads the pack for the second year in a row, according to this year's Best States to Practice report from Physicians Practice. The next-best states to practice--ranked by criteria such as low physician density, cost of living, tax burden, relative practice costs, disciplinary actions against physicians and malpractice payouts--include Alabama, Texas and Nevada.
"Our Best States to Practice rankings are a roadmap for physicians to guide them to the best locale to practice medicine, based on the state climate," said Keith L. Martin, group editorial director for Physicians Practice, in an announcement. "And like all road maps, some things are outside the 'route'--so we don't take into account things like school systems, arts and entertainment, and recreation in our rankings, which are also important to physicians and their families. But we can get the discussion started on the ideal destination."
Nonetheless, physicians practicing in these top states shared with the publication other aspects of their regions they enjoy:
- Sense of community: "I'm not from the community in which I practice, but I was very easily taken in--[members of the community] see you at the local ball games … You are accepted much quicker than you would be in other places." -- Julia Boothe, M.D., family practice physician in Reform, Alabama.
- Affordable malpractice insurance. "The malpractice [insurance] was astonishing. It was probably a quarter of what I paid in Oklahoma." -- Elizabeth Seymour, M.D., family practice physician in Denton, Texas.
- Low managed care penetration. "I think [northern Nevada] is a favorable place … to negotiate contracts. … They really haven't introduced capitation up here in the northern parts. So income preservation … is fairly nice." -- Donald Farrimond, M.D., family physician in Reno, Nevada.