Workforce Report Will Help Inform Efforts to Increase Physician Supply in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Health Planning recently released its 2012 “Pulse of Pennsylvania’s Physician and Physician Assistant Workforce” publication. The report is based on the 2012 licensure survey that physicians and physician assistants completed during the 2012 license renewal period.

Most of the information is associated with physicians who provided direct patient care in Pennsylvania. For purposes of this survey, direct patient care includes the amount of time a physician spends directly with patients in a medical setting, including time spent on patient record keeping and patient specific office work.

The report includes information on allopathic and osteopathic physicians. It provides valuable physician manpower information, as well as demographic information and other information about Pennsylvania’s physician population.

Some highlights from the report include (2012 data):

  • 34,517 physicians provided direct patient care.
  • The average age is 49.7 years for direct patient care and 51.4 for all licensed physicians. The average age continues to increase.
  • Sixty-eight percent of direct patient care physicians are male and 32 percent female. In 2004, 75 percent were male and 25 percent female.
  • Thirty-seven percent of physicians practicing direct patient care both graduated from medical school and completed residency in Pennsylvania. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, nationally states retained 67 percent of active physicians who completed their medical education and residency in that state and listed Pennsylvania at 58 percent.
  • Eighty-one percent of physicians providing direct patient care were board certified in their primary specialty.
  • Thirty-five percent of physicians providing direct patient care were primary care physicians. This is an increase over previous years.
  • Direct patient care physicians were overwhelmingly (92 percent) providing care in urban counties.
  • Fifty-six percent of direct patient care physicians worked more than 40 hours per week.
  • Eighty-six percent of physicians providing direct patient care were either satisfied or very satisfied with their medical career in the last 12 months. The greatest source of professional dissatisfaction was the availability of leisure time.

“The recent report highlights several trends we have been watching in Pennsylvania for some time, including an increase in female physicians and an increase in the employed physician segment,” said Michael Fraser, PhD, CAE, executive vice president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED).

“This data will be used by PAMED to inform our advocacy efforts to increase the physician supply in Pennsylvania, in conjunction with other groups such as the Joint State Government Committee that is looking at the issue of the physician workforce shortage in the commonwealth. We will also use it to focus our member resources and tools to the interests and demographic of current Pennsylvania physicians.”