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Here’s where Utahns struggle the most to find primary health care

The Salt Lake Tribune wants to talk to Utahns across the state about their experience finding doctors and other providers.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Two health care workers at the Navajo Mountain Health Clinic talk while treating a patient on Aug. 25, 2020. The center is in San Juan County, which has a shortage of primary care doctors in the Monticello area.

This story is part of The Salt Lake Tribune’s ongoing commitment to identify solutions to Utah’s biggest challenges through the work of the Innovation Lab. [Subscribe to our newsletter here]

A year before the coronavirus pandemic, three Utah counties had few or no primary care physicians.

Daggett, Piute and Rich counties had zero primary care physicians per 10,000 people in 2019, according to federal data available through the state’s public health data resource.

Though those counties have fewer than 10,000 people, counties with similarly small populations — including Wayne and Garfield counties — had primary care physicians available.

Eleven of Utah’s 29 counties are fully or partially designated as geographic Health Professional Shortage Areas for primary care.

That means there’s a shortage of primary care providers for everyone within those counties or, in some cases, people living in certain areas within those counties.

Utah’s other 18 counties have enough primary care physicians that they don’t have a geographic shortage, including up to 13.5 per 10,000 people in Summit County.

But some populations — such as the unhoused, migrant farmworkers and people with low incomes — may still have trouble accessing care in those counties.

The Salt Lake Tribune wants to hear about your experiences finding health care in Utah. Please fill out the Google Form below to tell your story.

Megan Banta is The Salt Lake Tribune’s data enterprise reporter, a philanthropically supported position. The Tribune retains control over all editorial decisions.