primary health care; access to primary care; primary care physicians; population health; population health management; Florida; obesity; hospitalizations; life expectancy


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Primary Care



Primary care physicians play vital roles in the prevention and management of chronic disease. With increasing rates of chronic disease and a national primary care physician shortage, the role that primary care physician supply has on health outcomes in Florida is not well understood. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between primary care physician supply (PCPS) and population health outcomes of obesity, life expectancy, coronary artery disease hospitalization, and death rate as reported by county in the state of Florida for the years 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019.


This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study. Secondary data was used from the Florida Department of Health. Numerous population health and social determinants of health variables related to PCPS in the literature were selected for analysis. Correlation and linear regression analyses were conducted using STATA14.


The association between PCPS and obesity was the strongest association in this analysis and was significant for each year with an average of 9.25 primary care physicians per 100 000 people needed to decrease the obesity rate by 1%. PCPS was positively correlated with life expectancy for years 2013, 2016, and 2019 and negatively correlated with the death rate in 2010 and 2019. In the multiple regression, PCPS was negatively associated with areas having a high rate of uninsured persons, unemployment, decreased education, and age over 65.


Increased supply of primary care physicians in Florida is significantly associated with decreased rates of obesity and death and increased life expectancy. Our results also indicate that areas with higher levels of social vulnerability also have inequitable distributions of PCPS. Therefore, PCPS should be increased, particularly in areas with the highest need, as primary care physicians in the state of Florida play an important role in improving the overall health of the populations they serve.