Physician offices recognized for positive economic impact

Too often when the words "physician practice" and "business" are paired in the same sentence, the news is less than positive. But office-based doctors may not be getting their due when it comes to their vital roles in national and state economies, a new report from the American Medical Association reveals.

Nationwide, "The State-Level Economic Impact of Office-Based Physicians" found that office-based physicians supported 4 million jobs in 2009, leading to $1.4 trillion in economic activity, $833.1 billion in wages and benefits and $62.9 billion in state and local tax revenue.

Individually, physicians contributed a mean of about $2.2 million to the national economy and an average of 6.2 jobs, including his or her own.

"These are good-paying jobs with good benefits, and they are stable in comparison to the rest of the economy," Martin Moll, partner and chair of the healthcare practice at AKT, a CPA and business consultant firm in Portland, Ore., told American Medical News. "And a real medical campus can make a location more desirable for general businesses. Larger employers are looking at everything before moving. If a city has long emergency department waits or it is impossible to get access to a primary care physician, the employer will look at another city."

Several individual states are using data from the report to support advocacy initiatives. For example, the Medical Association of Georgia intends to underscore its physicians' $24.3 billion in economic activity and provision of 97,513 jobs to fight Medicaid cuts and push for programs that address the physician shortage in the state. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Medical Association is using its practices' $17.5 billion in economic output to argue for tort reform.

Other recent news also proves that medical offices can shine for their business prowess on the national scene, based on Inc. Magazine's selection of Ill.-based Doctors of Physical Therapy as a finalist for its list of top small businesses of the year.

But Dr. Barb Ostrowska, director of clinical operations as well as a practicing physical therapist with the group, told the Naperville Sun that she wasn't surprised by the national recognition.

"We're one of those smaller businesses that, in the long run, saves patients money by treating issues more effectively, and because our patients have easier access to their doctors, it allows everyone more freedom," she said. "We have the satisfaction of being part of a team, and success can come from anything, from the money people make to just going to work and having a nice environment."

To learn more:
- read the article from American Medical News

- see this piece from MedPage Today

- check out this story from the Naperville Sun

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