The State of Primary Care Physician Workforce: Wisconsin

In the United States, primary care physicians (PCPs) currently represent less than one-third of the total physician workforce. States are under increasing pressure to create solutions that bolster the number of physicians practicing primary care in both rural and urban settings. This factsheet characterizes the primary care physician workforce in Wisconsin.

We used data mainly from the 2018 American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Masterfile. Physicians were classified as primary care if their primary specialty is family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, general practice or geriatrics. We restricted our counts to PCPs in direct patient care. With Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data, we identified PCPs that work mainly as hospitalists and excluded them from our analysis. Finally, we used additional data sources to identify osteopaths excluded from the AMA Masterfile.

In 2018, Wisconsin had 4,000 PCPs in direct patient care, of which 2,140 were family physicians. In other words, 54% of its primary care workforce consisted of family physicians, compared to 44% in the East North Central Census Division and 38% nationwide. On a per capita basis, there were about 69 PCPs per 100,000 persons in Wisconsin, compared to 76 per 100,000 in the East North Central and 76 per 100,000 in the U.S. as a whole. The state’s family medicine workforce was 45% female, which was equal to the percentage nationwide (45%). Consistent with national trends, younger family physicians were more likely to be female than their older counterparts. About 41% of family physicians were over the age of 55, less than the nationwide percentage of 44%.


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