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California Physicians: Who They Are, How They Practice

Craig Paxton, Cattaneo & Stroud

California's physician population has grown over the past 20 years. This report describes the landscape for physician services, including supply, physician demographics, education, and compensation.

The number of licensed physicians in California has grown steadily over the past 20 years, increasing 44% between 1993 and 2013, and has outpaced the state's 23% growth in population. Demand for physicians is expected to increase as the population ages. Ensuring access to care is a concern, as one-third of the state's physicians are over age 60. California Physicians: Who They Are, How They Practice describes the physician market in California.

Key findings include:



The supply of licensed physicians does not accurately reflect their availability to provide care. Only 78% of physicians with active licenses provided patient care 20 or more hours per week.

Patient Care Hours Worked, California, 2015


Latinos were underrepresented among physicians. Latinos represented 38% of California's population, but only 5% the state's physicians were Latino.

Race/Ethnicity of Physicians and Population, California, 2015


Physicians were less likely to have uninsured patients in their practice than patients with any type of health insurance.

Physicians with Patients in Practice, by Coverage Type, California, 2015


Twenty-seven percent of physicians (35% of PCPs and 23% of specialists) attended medical school in a foreign country.

Physicians, by Medical School Location and Speciality, California, 2015


Physician supply varied by region. The Greater Bay Area was the only region that met the recommended supply of primary care physicians (PCPs). The Inland Empire, San Joaquin Valley, and Northern and Sierra Counties all fell short of the recommended supply of specialists.

Primary Care Physicians and Specialists, by California Region, 2015

The complete report, as well as previous editions and an infographic, is available under Document Downloads.

Almanac Updates

The CHCF Almanac regularly publishes data and analysis on California's health care market.

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