Mississippi native and physician Robert Harris underwent his specialty training in Durham, N.C., and still misses the excitement of being in the epicenter of cultural and educational opportunities. "In Durham, you are right there in 'the Triangle' — all the colleges, lots to do," he says. "I think that's probably what I miss the most."
But that doesn't mean he regrets his decision to settle down and set up his private practice in Mississippi. "It is really a nice place to raise a family, because it's not so densely populated," says Harris. "You do tend to be [more] involved … [and] it seems easier to keep up with your children, because everyone is sort of a neighbor, they are all looking out for each other."
There are numerous factors that determine where physicians decide to practice medicine. Some, like Harris, return to the state where they grew up and others are drawn to places with a greater need for medical professionals. Some make the decision based on family needs. Wherever you chose to hang up your shingle, we know you are curious if the grass is truly greener in another state.
Each year, Physicians Practice looks at quantitative data to determine the most physician-friendly states and the best states for you to run a private practice.
Across the country we've looked at the key factors influencing the profitability and stability of your practice: cost of living, disciplinary actions taken against physicians, tax burden per capita, Medicare GPCI, physician density, and malpractice award payouts per capita. To determine the best states to practice, we've compiled that data and ranked each state according to its aggregate scores.
Our analysis wasn't entirely numbers driven, but it should give you a good idea about practice climates in each state. We also didn't consider lifestyle-oriented factors such as cultural institutions, sports arenas, or proximity to a great Brazilian steak house. These variables tend to be personal in nature — and are based more on each physician's unique history and preference.
If your state is not highlighted here, a more in-depth look at how each state (and the District of Columbia) performs in each data category appears at Physicianspractice.com/best-states-to-practice. We also talked to more than 40 physicians about what they like and dislike when it comes to the practice environment in their states.
Now on to our top five states to practice for 2013: