I think this is another good article for our readers.
Physicians engaged in patient care generated $1.6 trillion in economic activity and supported 10 million jobs nationwide in 2012, according to a new report by the American Medical Association (AMA).
The study found that physicians had a greater national economic impact than counterparts in higher education, home health care, legal services, nursing, and residential care.
“Spending on physician services grew more slowly between 2009 and 2012 than at any time in the last 15 years and accounts for only 16% of all health care dollars spent in the US in 2012,” the AMA said in a statement. “Yet expenditures for physician services have a ripple effect through the economy. Every dollar applied to physician services supports an additional $1.62 in other business activity.”
“Physicians carry tremendous responsibility as skilled healers, trusted confidants and patient advocates, but their positive impact isn’t confined to the exam room,” AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, said in the statement. “The new AMA study illustrates that physicians are strong economic drivers that are woven into their local communities by the jobs, commerce and taxes they generate. These quality jobs not only support the caring role of physicians, but also generate taxes that support schools, housing, transportation and other public services in local communities.”
Data from the Medical Group Management Association was used to estimate physician economic data on jobs, wages, and benefits. “Given the changing health care environment, it is paramount to quantify the economic impact physicians have on society,” the AMA said.
The report measures the impact of 720,000 patient care physicians in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as of December 2012.
Output: Each physician supported an average of $2.2 million in economic output and contributed to a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output nationwide.
Jobs: At the state level, physicians supported a median of 93,392 total jobs and a mean of 148,980 total jobs (including their own), the total of direct and indirect positions. On average, each physician supported almost 14 jobs.
Wages and benefits: At the state level, physicians supported median total wages and benefits of $7.4 billion and mean total wages and benefits of $12.7 billion. At the national level, physicians contributed $775.5 billion in direct and indirect wages and benefits for all supported jobs in 2012. On average, each physician supported an average of $1.1 million in total wages and benefits.
State and local tax revenues: At the state level, physicians supported median total state and local taxes of $440.4 million and mean total state and local taxes of $938.3 million. At the national level, physicians supported $65.2 billion in local and state tax revenues in 2012. On average, each physician supported $90,449 in local and state tax revenues.
Worth in More Ways Than One
“I think the AMA data is valid and is in line with studies we and others have done,” Tommy Bohannon, divisional vice president of Merritt Hawkins, a leading physician search and recruitment firm based in Irving, Texas said. “The AMA wants the small independent practice model to continue so it is putting out data stressing the worth of doctor practices to the overall economy.
“The timing isn’t accidental,” he said. “This comes as there’s more publicity than ever about Medicare payments to doctors. You’ll see articles about millionaire physicians but not as much about doctors going bankrupt. The AMA wants to show that doctors don’t make that much money, especially compared to what they generate in economic activity.”
A Merritt Hawkins study backs up the AMA data. “Little takes place in medicine that is not ordered by, reviewed by, or performed by a doctor,” states the 2013 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey that quantified the financial impact physicians have on hospitals. It averages to $1.4 million in revenue per year per physician.
David J. Zetter from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, a member the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants, applauded the AMA for “trying to make the public and Congress aware that physicians in private practice employ others, utilize vendors, etc, to assist them in the practice of medicine. Cutting reimbursement or passing laws that make it harder to set up a private practice is detrimental to the economy.
“Physicians run small businesses and small business drives the overall economy,” he said. “Physician impact on the economy may diminish, though, as hospitals continue to buy up more practices. That means there will be fewer physicians to employ people to assist in running their practices.”