News: Getting municipalities to provide financial incentives for MD practices

February 1, 2009

State medical societies are conducting economic impact studies to show that physician practices pump billions of dollars into local and state economies through payrolls and purchases of local goods and services, so that local businesses and government assist physician practices with small business loans, etc.

In an effort to motivate local business and government leaders to assist physician practices with small business loans, tax deferments, enterprise zones, and other financial aids that local governments often offer to other businesses, state medical societies are conducting economic impact studies to show that physician practices pump billions of dollars into local and state economies through payrolls and purchases of local goods and services. The studies are also driven by a desire for government assistance with recruiting physicians, given that large projected physician shortages could cost states billions of dollars in employee pay and economic activity, according to American Medical News (11/10/08). These studies include recent releases by the Metropolitan Medical Society of Greater Kansas City and the Medical Association of Georgia.

The Kansas City study found that the 4,500 practicing physicians in local practices created 21,000 full-time jobs and 3,200 part-time jobs. These practices contribute $2.7 billion in payroll, make $191 million in capital investments, have $1 billion in operating expenses, and pay $202 million in annual taxes. Each year, the physician community in the area also provides more than $124 million in volunteer services and donates more than $19 million to area organizations.

The Georgia study reported that in 2008, practices in the state accounted for more than 180,000 jobs, $10 billion in wages, and nearly $20 billion in economic activity. Each private-practice physician in Georgia supports 13 additional jobs and almost $1.5 billion in total economic activity. The study warned that if a projected 2,500-physician shortage is not alleviated, the state would lose out on 23,000 additional jobs, $1.5 billion in employee pay, and $2.5 billion in economic activity.