February 16, 2024

State-by-state numbers break down nationwide anesthesiologist shortage

Editor's Note

Amid a nationwide shortage of anesthesiologists straining many healthcare systems, new data from the Kaiser Family Foundation offers a state-by-state comparison of the number of anesthesiologists per physician.

As of January 2024, the data reveal that Indiana leads states with the most anesthesiologists per physician at 13.12% (1,211 anesthesiologists for 9,227 physicians). Montana is next at 12.38% (142 anesthesiologists for 1,147 physicians). Nevada ranks third at 11.87% (417 anesthesiologists for 3,514 physicians).

On the low end of the scale, Rhode Island ranks last in number of anesthesiologists per physician at 4.79% (143 anesthesiologists for 2,987 physicians). It’s followed by South Dakota at 6.52% (68 anesthesiologists for 1,043 physicians) and Delaware at 6.75% (116 anesthesiologists for 1,718 physicians). 

These shortages are of particular concern as demand for anesthesiologists is certain to increase with the growing aging population.

A “Call for Action” in the Journal of Medicine, Surgery, and Public Health notes that demand for anesthesiologists will continue to rise by 2% to 3% each year, particularly driven by the over-65 population, and suggested that healthcare systems need to have anesthesiologists equal to half the population of physicians. 

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