Many studies predicting physician supply are based on national statistics, whicl may not be applicable at the state level.
To facilitate meaningful planning of future physician supply in our state, we developed a conservative, population-based projection of the total number of generalist and specialist physicians who will practice in Louisiana per 100,000 population in 2001 and 2006.
Our projections, which err toward our goal of overestimating physician supply, indicate that the total physician number per 100,000 population in Louisiana will rise from the current level of 139 to 162, then to 186, in 2001 and 2006, respectively. The number of primary care physicians will rise from 52 to 59, then to 67, and specialists from 87 to 103, then to 119, in 2001 and 2006, respectively. These numbers are well within the range of need reported in several widely published demand scenarios used for comparison.
In planning future policies on physician supply, states should develop their own projections rather than simply extrapolating national data to their individual situations.