California Physicians: Who They Are, How They Practice
August 9, 2017
Janet Coffman, Associate Professor, UCSF School of Medicine, Institute for Health Policy Studies
Igor Geyn, Healthforce Center at UCSF
Margaret Fix, UCSF School of Medicine, Institute for Health Policy Studies
Note: Data on the chart on page 18 and in the footnotes on pages 18, 19, and 20 were updated in August 2018.
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.
Latinos were underrepresented among physicians. Latinos represented 38% of California’s population, but only 5% the state’s physicians were Latino.
Physicians were less likely to have uninsured patients in their practice than patients with any type of health insurance.
Twenty-seven percent of physicians (35% of PCPs and 23% of specialists) attended medical school in a foreign country.
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.