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Created on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus by state legislators in 2012, the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce (OMPW) is on a mission to reduce the shortage of primary care doctors in a state with the lowest per capita supply in the nation.
Our office oversees the state’s physician workforce development needs by nurturing the creation of family medicine residency programs, fostering the development of a physician workforce in all specialties where they are needed, evaluating the existing workforce, and establishing the state’s current and future workforce requirements.
To reach the national average, Mississippi will have to add more than 1,300 primary care physicians, whose specialties include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology.
As we move forward in improving health-care access, we will work toward adding additional medical residency training programs around Mississippi, developing partnerships that expand medical training opportunities in rural areas, and building a strong relationship with the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program, which cultivates rural college students desiring to return to their roots to practice medicine.
An aging and growing population, along with an increased access to health insurance will create the need for more primary care physicians in our state. The national median for primary care physicians is 94.7 physicians per 100,000 population. By comparison, Mississippi has only 67.4 primary care physicians per 100,000 population. As a result, we need more than 350 primary care physicians to meet the national median.
The OMPW, with its 21-member advisory board, will oversee physician workforce development needs by:
By creating and expanding Mississippi GME programs, the number of physicians who remain in Mississippi to practice can be directly increased. In the American Association of Medical Colleges, 2019-2020 State Physician Workforce Data Book, Mississippi ranked 7th in the percent retention of medical graduates when they performed both medical school and residency in Mississippi. This resulted in a 77.7% retention rate.
With improved geographic distribution and increased numbers of physicians, access to care should be positively impacted. Studies show that the addition of one new physician into a municipality can produce a community impact of $1-2 million through increased wages and benefits, the purchase of goods and services, and large-scale support of state and local tax revenues.
While OMPW's initial focus has been on family physician training, the office recognizes the need for all specialties. The OMPW will continue to evaluate, identify, and develop strategies to address other specialty areas of need and will continue to seek methods and available resources to nurture and support these needs.