Report: Clark County has higher rates of female, young doctors

While Clark County has more physicians and more primary care providers per 100,000 than the state average, it lags behind in several specialties and psychiatry, according to a new report by the state Office of Financial Management.

Clark County also has a higher rate of female physicians per 100,000 people and has the youngest median age of physicians in the state, according to the report.

The new report by the office’s Health Care Research Center looks at the state’s physician supply using data from 2016.

Clark County has 263 physicians per 100,000 residents – only slightly higher than the state rate of 261. Clark County was one of only eight counties with rates higher than the state average.

County rates ranged from a high of 402 physicians per 100,000 in Chelan County to a low of 19 in Wahkiakum County.

Clark County also has a higher-than-average rate of primary care providers per 100,000 residents: 122. The state rate is 96 providers per 100,000.

But when it comes to specialists, Clark County is below the state rate of 165 per 100,000. Clark County has 141 specialists per 100,000 residents – better than 29 other counties.

Clark County also falls below the state rates for anesthesiologists, cardiologists, emergency medicine providers, family medicine providers, psychiatrists and radiologists. The county exceeds the state rates for internal medicine providers, obstetricians/gynecologists, pediatricians and surgeons.

In total, Clark County had 1,215 physicians, accounting for 6.5 percent of the state’s physician workforce.

The five most populous counties in the state – King, Pierce, Spokane, Snohomish and Clark – had 73 percent of the state’s total physicians while accounting for just 65 percent of the state’s population.

Female physicians in Clark County make up 39.5 percent of the physician workforce compared with 37 percent statewide. Only three counties had higher rates than Clark County: Columbia (42 percent), King (41.7 percent) and Snohomish (40.5 percent).

Across the state, 60 percent of physicians obtained their first state license since 2000. In Clark County, however, 72.6 percent of physicians received their first license since. Only Lincoln County had a higher rate (73.9 percent).

So, not surprisingly, Clark County has the youngest median age of physicians: 47 years old. At the other end of the spectrum is Garfield County, where the median age is 63 years old. Most counties have a median age higher than the statewide median age of 50.

Marissa Harshman

I’m the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian — my hometown newspaper — in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

Report: Clark County has higher rates of female, young doctors

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