Health Care Providers Impact Statement for Whatcom County
Number of docs in 2009: 454. That's 22.7 physicians per 10,000 population1, the third-highest rate in western Washington. Washington's rate is 21.2 physicians per 10,000;2 the national average is about 20.2 per 10,000. Washington imports about 85% of its physicians from other states or nations.3
Health professional breakout: PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center employs 111 MDs, eight DOs, 10 physician assistants and 14 nurse practitioners at its hospital and six clinics in Bellingham.4Number of current WWAMI Spokane medical students from Whatcom County: zero
Number of current WSU pharmacy students from Whatcom County: four
Number of current WSU nursing students from Whatcom County: six
Number of current WSU nutrition and exercise physiology students from Whatcom County: one
Number of current WSU speech and hearing sciences students from Whatcom County: two
UW School of Medicine clinical faculty in Whatcom County: four MDs5
Health professionals in Whatcom County who graduated from Washington colleges: PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center has 23 UW School of Medicine graduates on staff, along with 19 doctors who served residencies and four who did fellowships in Washington. It also has two physician assistants who graduated from UW's MEDEX program.6
Bellingham has a residency program for new Washington doctors. Ferndale is a site for medical students looking to practice their skills in a rural setting between their first and second years (Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program).7
Whatcom County unemployment rate (Apr. 2013): 6.9% (state average 7.0% seasonally adjusted, 6.5% not seasonally adjusted) 8
Health care/social assistance employment in Whatcom County 9: 9,678 (out of 79,100 jobs). It's the county's second-largest employer, providing about $89.5 million in payroll, about 12.3% of the county's total payroll.
1According to the UW Center for Health Workforce Studies
2UW Center for Health Workforce Studies
3Association of American Medical Colleges
4Numbers gleaned from hospital and clinic websites
5UW Clinical faculty listing: http://depts.washington.edu/fammed/clinical_faculty/listings
6Numbers calculated from hospital and clinic websites
8Washington Department of Employment Security
9Washington Department of Employment Security (third quarter, 2010)
Congressional District: 1, 2
Legislative Districts: 40, 42
County Seat: Bellingham
WSU College of Nursing Dean Patricia Butterfield was the lead author of a study that found public health nursing visits help low-income families in Whatcom County.
“What we learned is that parents want to take steps to protect their children, but they often don’t know what to do."
Read more here.