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Kentucky Physician Shortage Facts


Physician supply lags patient demand nationally and across Kentucky. As supply falls, patients wait longer to see a doctor, and doctors burn out.

The U.S. is projected to have 120,000 too few doctors nationally.

  • Nearly 40% of American physicians will reach retirement age by 2030.1
  • By 2030, the United States will face a shortage of over 120,000 physicians.2
  • 32.3% of Kentucky physicians are within retirement range right now.3

Kentucky is projected to be short 2,926 doctors by 2030.

  • Primary care alone is projected to be short 624 providers.4

Kentucky ranks in the bottom half of all states for primary care doctor availability and for overall physician supply.5

107 of Kentucky’s 120 counties are health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).6

  • Low-income citizens are disproportionately affected by these shortages.
  • HPSA designations indicate areas where there are 3,500 or more patients for every one provider.7

Kentucky’s physician-to-patient ratio is 23 percent worse than the national average.

86% worse for infectious disease medicine

47% worse for internal medicine

36 worse in pediatric critical care medicine

40% worse in preventive medicine

44% worse in psychiatry