In the next decade, California will need an additional 4,100 primary care providers to meet projected demand.1
Although insurance provides access to care, it does not ensure that everyone receives appropriate or high-quality care at the right time.2 An estimated 7 million Californians live in provider shortage areas, with shortfalls in access to primary, dental or mental healthcare providers.3 The shortage of health professionals impacts access to care, causing a significant delay in obtaining timely health services and resulting in barriers which negatively affect health outcomes. Access to comprehensive and quality healthcare services is important for physical, social, mental health, and overall quality of life.4 Access to care also promotes preventative measures, managing disease, and reducing unnecessary disability and premature death.4
This indicator tracks access to primary care providers based on the ratio of health professionals to population size. A primary care shortage area is defined as having a population greater than 2,000 per provider.