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Study: Rochester boasts best ratio of primary care providers to patients in US

A recent analysis by FAIR Health found that there are 114.5 people per every primary care provider in Rochester, the lowest ratio in the nation.

Downtown Rochester
Downtown Rochester on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo

ROCHESTER — If you want to see the doctor, Rochester is the place to be.

A recent analysis by FAIR Health evaluated how Americans access primary health care services and what types of providers they see.

The analysis found that Rochester has the best ratio of people per primary care provider in 2022 across the U.S. This is largely due to the presence of Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center.

For every primary care provider — including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants — there are 114.5 people in the Rochester core-based statistical area.

Other communities with the best population-to-provider ratio include Iowa City, Iowa (122), Ann Arbor, Michigan (136.5) and Bloomsburg-Berkwick, Pennsylvania (200.8).


The FAIR Health analysis looked at the prevalence of primary care providers across the nation and how patients access primary care services. Overall, 29% of U.S. patients who sought medical care between 2016 and 2022 did not visit a primary care provider.

The report also shows how nurse practitioners and physician assistants are playing a bigger role in providing primary care. Out of the providers who performed primary care, 44% were non-physicians such as NPs and PAs.

"Primary care is at the heart of the healthcare system. It is often the first point of contact when patients seek healthcare and is designed to be person-focused, coordinated and comprehensive," the report states. "Since the early 2000s, however, the nation has been experiencing a primary care shortage, with declining access affecting many Americans."

The community with the largest patient-to-provider ratio in the U.S. is Zapata, Texas, where there is one primary care provider for every 2,759.6 people.

Dené K. Dryden is the Post Bulletin's health care reporter. She previously covered the Southeast Minnesota region for the Post Bulletin. Dené's a graduate of Kansas State University, where she cut her teeth working for the student newspaper, the Kansas State Collegian, and the student radio station, Wildcat 91.9. Readers can reach Dené at 507-281-7488 and ddryden@postbulletin.com.
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