Spartanburg is one of the best places in the country to be a doctor, according to a recent report.
Value Penguin, a New York-based consumer data and research website, ranked the best cities in the U.S. for a doctor to live.
Data were gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places Cost of Living Calculator. Rankings are based on doctors’ salaries, cost of living in the city and number of job opportunities.
Spartanburg ranks as the 10th best place for a doctor to live, out of about 300 cities nationwide. Spartanburg also is the best place for a doctor to live in South Carolina, according to the report. Greenville ranks 203rd on the list, Columbia ranks 90th, and Anderson ranks just below Spartanburg at No. 12.
The 210 family and general practitioners reporting from Spartanburg earn an average salary of $206,990, 15 percent more than the national average, said Ting Pen, co-founder of Value Penguin, which has been referenced in stories by national and international news media.
Pen said it’s also cheaper to live in Spartanburg than many other cities across the country, which allows doctors’ above-average earnings to be stretched further.
“We decided to create this study to let future and current doctors know of new cities to establish a practice that they may not have considered,” Pen said.
Dr. Howard Bean, medical director at Mary Black Health System, said he’s not familiar with the source of the report, nor does he know anything about its credibility, but he agrees that Spartanburg is a great place to be a doctor.
Bean, a Spartanburg native, said salary, cost of living and number of job opportunities are all aspects that might attract doctors to an area. But he said there are other factors not considered in the report that keep doctors in Spartanburg once they get here, and it’s not all about income.
“It’s about quality of life, the fact that we live in a good part of the country with a good climate,” he said. “We have two strong hospitals who compete — and competition makes us stronger — but we all get along and work well together, which is important in physician satisfaction.”
Dr. Jason Rousseau, a cardiac and thoracic surgeon at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, said Spartanburg has excellent school systems, provides easy access to arts and entertainment, is near major metropolitan areas, and is just a short distance from the beach or the mountains.
“For me, Spartanburg combines the best of work, atmosphere and lifestyle,” he said. While the Value Penguin report focuses on salary and cost of living, Bean says most good doctors don’t get into medicine for the money.
“Sure, physicians are generally well paid. But most physicians go into medicine not for money, but because that’s their passion,” he said. “They love to take care of people, and they love to help people.”
Natalie Brown, assistant director of marketing at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, said the report could motivate students to stay in Spartanburg or the Upstate after they graduate.
“I definitely think the ranking could have a great impact on keeping VCOM graduates in Spartanburg, and increasing the number of primary care physicians to fill the gaps and meet the needs of our population,” she said.
According to the report, the area of North Port, Bradenton and Sarasota, Fla., is the best area for a doctor to live; doctors there average $228,190 in salary.
The area of Bethesda, Rockville and Frederick, Md., ranks as the worst place to be a doctor; doctors there make an average of $133,550, with a high cost of living.