Blog | Thursday, March 24, 2011

QD: News Every Day--Office-based doctors are economic powerhouses

The nation's office-based physicians generate $1.4 trillion in total economic output, 4 million jobs, $833 billion in wages and benefits, and $63 billion in state and local taxes, according to a report. While office-based physicians are largely made up of solo and small-group practices, their economic impact compares to the hospital industry in all fifty states and is more than nursing homes and home health.

The report, sponsored by the American Medical Association, analyzed the economic value of direct impact by each physician (for example, employee wages) and the indirect impact in the industries that are supported by physicians’ offices (for example, when employees go shopping with their wages).

There were nearly 640,000 office-based physicians in the U.S. as of October 2010. On average, each office-based physician supported $2.2 million in economic output, 6.2 jobs (including the physician's own), $1.3 million in wages and benefits, and more than $98,000 in state and local tax revenue across the nation.

"In these times of rapid change in the health care industry it is important to understand how changes affect office-based physicians," the report reads. "It shows how strong physician practices not only ensure the health and well being of communities but also critically support local economies and enable jobs, growth and prosperity."

Office-based physicians generated more economic impact and more wages and benefits than the fields of higher education, home health, law, and nursing homes in 2009. Only in Washington, D.C., did the legal industry boost the economy more than office-based office-based physicians--five times as much, actually. Hospitals hired more people than office-based physicians, but offices had better wages and benefits.

Data were generated from three databases, the AMA Masterfile of physicians, the Medical Group Management Association's Cost Survey of physician expenses, and the Minnesota Implan Group's models on employment multipliers and tax revenues.