South Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho Iowa and Minnesota had the highest overall scores. Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Hawaii, New York and Rhode Island were among the lowest.
Dr. Peter Carrazzone, president of the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians and managing partner at Vanguard Medical Group, said 60 percent of primary care doctors trained in New Jersey leave the state because of low salaries. He added that medical school students graduate with an average of $190,000 in debt.
“The problem we have in New Jersey is that, unlike other states, we’re saturated with specialists,” Carrazzone said. “We have a much lower primary care-to-specialist ratio than Midwest states, and when you have more specialists than family doctors, you get disjointed care.
“That raises the cost of care because value-based care starts with primary care physicians,” he added. “Hospitals and medical groups can’t afford to pay doctors as much because the insurance companies are paying less and the model has run amok here. What it comes down to is that New Jersey still does not have a culture of empowering primary care doctors.”