Primary care is the backbone of American healthcare. Primary care (PC) physicians are especially cost-effective in preventing and managing illness and disability, and prolonging years of quality life. They also contribute significantly to the economy of their communities. Primary care shortages across the Commonwealth are severe. Kentucky ranks 43rd in the USA for its number of PC physicians per 100,000 people. The Commonwealth would have to add 246 primary care physicians annually to reach the US median by the end of 2029. Kentucky produces and retains only about 55 new PC physicians per year, recruiting 55 to 60 more from out of state. This total of 110 – 115 new physicians falls short of the 124 PC physicians that must be added annually to avoid worsening our shortage, and far below the 246 PC physicians that Kentucky would need to add each year to reach the US median in the coming decade.
Pearce, Kevin A.; Thompson, Sydney P.; and Feltner, Frances J., "Kentucky’s Primary Care Workforce: Current Status and Output of New Trainees January 2020 Update" (2020). Center of Excellence in Rural Health Workforce Reports. 1.