How many doctors are there in the U.S.?

… and how many got their degrees from U.S. schools?

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Even though Congress is punting on healthcare (or maybe because Congress is punting on healthcare), I decided to to get better informed on the topic.

Of course, I like to start with the numbers.

Where better to start, than with the “ 2016 Census of Actively Licensed Physicians in the United States”

Note: Unless noted to the contrary, all data reported below is from this census.

Here are some of my takeaways ….

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There are about 950,000 active licensed physicians (ALPs) in the U.S.

Doing the arithmetic, that works out to about 350 people per doctor … or, reversing the stat, about 295 doctors per 100,000 of population.

The number of doctors per 100,000 of population is relative even across states, with one glaring exception … that might explain our crack Congress is content dragging their heels on real healthcare reform.


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Let’s dig a little deeper into the numbers ….

 

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Roughly half of the 950,000 ALPs are Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) and roughly half are specialists. Source

On average, Americans make about 3 visits per year to office-based physicians … so, it total, Americans make about 1 billion visits each year to office-based physicians … about half of those visits are to PCPs, half to specialists. Source

 Note: Not all of the 900,000 ALPs are “office-based”. Triangulating from a couple of other sources., my best guess is another 50 / 50 split.

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Approximately 75% of the ALPs got their medical degrees from a U.S. or Canadian medical school.

The converse is a number that surprised me: ABOUT 25% of the ALPs did not get their medical degrees from a U.S. or Canadian medical school … they are International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who have satisfied U.S. licensing requirements.

QUIZ TIME: Guess where most of the IMGs were educated?

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My guess was the Caribbean … but, I was wrong.

About 23% of the IMG-ALPs got their medical degrees in India … 16% from Caribbean schools.

Roughly 60% of the Caribbean school graduates are U.S. citizens.

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Let’s recap … here are a couple of numbers to remember if you want to impress at cocktail parties:

Almost 1 million Active Licensed Physicians in the U.S.

An even split between Primary Care Physicians and Specialists.

Roughly 75 % of ALPs got their degrees from U.S. medical schools … 25% got International Medical Degrees.

Patients make about 1 billion office visits per year.

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Next, we’ll go a little deeper into physician demographics…

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#HomaFiles

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

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