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Washington Physician Shortage Facts

Physician supply lags patient demand nationally and across Washington. 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.1,2,3

  • Nearly 40% of American physicians will reach retirement age.
  • The United States will face a shortage of over 120,000 physicians.
  • 32.7% of Washington’s physicians are within retirement range right now.

Washington is projected to be short 6,037 doctors.4

  • Primary care alone is projected to be short 1,695 providers.

Overall, Washington ranks in the bottom half of states for general surgeons and OB/GYN availability.3

All 69 of Washington’s counties are health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).5,6

  • 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.

Washington’s physician-to-patient ratio is 2 percent worse than the national average.

10% worse
for critical care medicine

9% worse
for general surgery

13% worse
for internal medicine

12% worse
for psychiatry

26% worse
for plastic surgery