Rural Idaho is suffering a doctor shortage that one expert says may be the worst in the nation.

Thirteen counties need 31 doctors, mostly general practice or family practice physicians who will deliver babies, according to the Idaho Rural Health Education Center, a non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Washington School of Medicine.Overall, the state ranks last in the per-capita number of doctors who treat patients. According to 1986 statistics, the latest available from the American Medical Association, Idaho has 114 doctors for every 100,000 people.

The national average is 184. Washington, D.C., leads with 467 doctors for every 100,000 people.

Statistics do not indicate that Idahoans are dying because they cannot find doctors. Idaho's overall death rate consistently is below the national average.