Access to Cardiologist Care Varies Nationwide

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. For men. For women. No matter ethnicity, race or social class.

heart doctor  200x300 Access to Cardiologist Care Varies Nationwide Photo

How hard is it to find a heart doctor in your area?

So access to a good cardiologist is key when disease strikes. The problem is that getting care from a heart doctor can be difficult, depending on where you live.

For the second February in a row, the same month dedicated to Heart Health Awareness, the Vitals Index analyzed cardiologist data across America. The results show that states in the Northeast from Massachusetts down to Washington DC still have the best access to cardiologist care. For instance, in the nation’s capital, there is 1 cardiologist to care for every 6,700 people. New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Florida also rank on top for access to cardiologist care.

Top 10 states for access to cardiologists

State No. of Cardiologists Population Per Capita
DC 89 601723 0.014790859
NJ 928 8791894 0.010555177
CT 315 3574097 0.008813415
NY 1631 19378077 0.008416728
FL 1442 18801226 0.007669713
RI 80 1052581 0.007600365
DE 68 897925 0.007573016
PA 958 12702260 0.007541965
MA 464 6547612 0.007086553
KY 306 4345548 0.00704169


Yet, Hawaii bumped Wyoming as the worst state in 2014. With only 44 heart doctors on the island archipelago that’s home to more than 1.3 million people, the per capita rate is about 1 cardiologist for every 30,915. Oregon, New Mexico, Utah and Minnesota were the other four states that made up the bottom five. All of the worst five states were ranked higher in 2013, meaning that cardiologists either moved out of their states or their populations increased, skewing their per capita numbers. 

Worst 5 states for access to cardiologists

State No. of Cardiologists Population Per Capita
MN 200 5304141 0.003770639
UT 95 2763264 0.003437963
NM 69 2056349 0.003355462
OR 126 3831165 0.003288817
HI 44 1360301 0.003234578


Hawaii had a double-strike against it this year. The Aloha Sate had the lowest patient ratings for cardiologists in 2014. Overall, cardiologists were given a rating of 3.16 out of a 4-star rating in Hawaii. Other discontented patients were from Oklahoma, South Carolina, Arkansas and Kentucky. It’s interesting to note that, on the whole, patient ratings for cardiologists did tick up this year. No states had average ratings for their heart doctors that were below a 3.0. In 2013, the lowest scores for cardiologists were in Nevada, where patients gave their doctors an average rating of 2.88.

Arkansas and Rhode Island were the two states whose residents rated their cardiologists the highest for a second year in a row. Wyoming, North Dakota and Maine residents also gave high praise to their heart doctors.

Top 5 States for Cardiologist Ratings

State Overall Rating
AK 3.82
RI 3.73
WY 3.69
ND 3.61
ME 3.60


Lowest 5 States for Cardiologist Ratings

State Overall Rating
KY 3.31
AR 3.28
SC 3.27
OK 3.21
HI 3.16



“When we’re faced with a serious illness like heart disease, it’s important to know where you can go and who can you trust,” says Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals. “Vitals helps people find the best specialists no matter if they want the convenience of a local doctor or they want to seek out an expert in another state.”

In the meantime, it’s best to follow these tips to reduce your chances of needing a cardiologist:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid excess salt in the diet (or reduce the amount).
  • Maintain a normal level of sugar (for diabetics).
  • Follow a healthy heart diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Avoid trans fat.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Strive to maintain a healthy weight for your specific height and body frame.