New Study: Greater Cincinnati’s Ability to Meet Demand for Primary Care Physicians

Greater Cincinnati’s current and projected (2017)
need for
primary care physicians

A new study has found that Greater Cincinnati does not have enough primary care physicians to meet current demand, and that this deficit could increase in the next five years as the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.

The study was commissioned by the Executive Stakeholders’ Council and was published by the Health Collaborative. Jené Grandmont, Health Informatics Specialist at HealthLandscape, is the study’s coauthor.


The study covered the following nine counties: Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren counties in Ohio, and Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties in Kentucky. Its goals were threefold:

  • To determine the number of primary care physicians practicing in the nine counties named above
  • To evaluate the potential need for primary care physicians currently and in five years
  • To make recommendations for the region to meet any needs that were identified


The study conservatively estimates that Greater Cincinnati needs 200 more primary care physicians to meet current demand and, unless the need is addressed, will require 250 by 2017. The study defined primary care physicians as “family medicine physicians, internal medicine physicians and general practice physicians (who have no specialty training beyond internship) serving the adult population.”

The study also noted:

  • Physician deficits vary by county.
  • The number of Medicaid recipients will increase by 25 percent throughout the study area if both Ohio and Kentucky expand Medicaid coverage.
  • Demand for primary care among formerly uninsured adults will dramatically increase as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.
  • Greater Cincinnati faces issues similar to other communities nationwide in terms of meeting demand for primary care physicians. Challenges include:
    • Primary care physicians are not compensated as highly as specialty physicians.
    • Fewer primary care physicians practice in rural and central city areas.
    • There is a lack of racial and ethnic diversity among primary care physicians.
    • Many current primary care physicians will retire in the next five to ten years.
Greater Cincinnati’s primary care physician deficit based on Health and Human Services’
desired ratio of 89 primary care physicians per 100,000 adults.


The study makes detailed, practical recommendations to improve primary care delivery in Greater Cincinnati. Top-level recommendations are:

  • Strengthen the current primary care base.
  • Promote community-wide adoption of the patient-centered medical home concept. (A patient-centered medical home provides safe, accessible, comprehensive, accessible, coordinated patient-centered care.)
  • Redouble Greater Cincinnati’s efforts to recruit new primary care physicians and advanced-practice professionals (physician assistants and nurse practitioners) to the region.
  • Continue to expand use of electronic health information.
  • Encourage the establishment of collective impact metrics, so progress can be measured over time.

Click here to download the full study. Visit the Health Collaborative’s site for other study links and resources.

Slides published courtesy of the Health Collaborative.

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