Kansas ranks high among physicians

BY ANDI ATWATER
The Wichita Eagle

Kansas is one of five states rated by Physicians Practice journal as one of the best in which to practice medicine.

The practice management magazine included Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana and South Dakota in its findings, published in this month’s issue.

Its analysis considered the cost of living as well as physician-oriented business factors, such as reimbursement rates, physicians per capita and the malpractice liability climate.

Kansas, for example, ranked seventh-lowest for cost of living in 2006 data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“There are very powerful reasons to stay here,” said family physician Kevin Hoppock, who was born and raised in Wichita and chose to practice here once he completed training.

“We have a very strong and supportive physician community…. The reasonable cost of living here allows more time to enjoy your family rather than just work to support them.”

Many physicians credit Wichita’s considerable research and educational opportunities from the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita as a big draw for a talented and diverse physician community.

“That keeps, I think, the quality of medicine at a higher level,” said infectious disease pediatrician Robert Wittler, who moved here 11 years ago after working in numerous places around the nation as a military doctor. He now works at the school of medicine.

“When you have medical students, research and teaching, you draw in other subspecialists and people who have specific expertise for this size of city,” he said. “This wasn’t any place I thought I’d be 20 years ago, but we love it.”

The Midwest, in general, beat out the more glamorous coastal states by far because of these factors, the magazine found.

Those who play a part in educating, informing or recruiting physicians agree.

“We certainly don’t have the mountains and oceans to offer, but we do have other valuable aspects that really improve a person’s level of satisfaction,” said Jon Rosell, executive director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County. “The Wichita community is a great place to practice.”
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