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Source: Wikimedia Commons and Mary Norenburg

The Economic Value of a Single U.S. Physician

Robin Young • Tue, January 9th, 2018

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The American Medical Association (AMA) hired IQVIA, the data, marketing and research outsourcing firm formerly known as IMS/Quintiles and headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, to answer a simple question: What is the economic value of U.S. physicians?

The answer, which is in a report titled The National Economic Impact of Physicians, was released Monday, January 8, 2018.

On average, each individual physician in the United States generates:

  • $3.2 million in annual economic output
  • 17 new jobs
  • $1.4 million in wages and benefits for support staff
  • $126,129 in state and local taxes

According to the AMA, there are 736,873 physicians in the United States. Therefore, physicians in the United State are responsible for $2.3 trillion of economic output annually. In terms of jobs, physicians support more than 12.5 million jobs and $1 trillion in wages and benefits. If physicians did not exist, state and local governments would be $93 billion poorer—each year.

A Few Details

Output: Physicians generated $821.6 billion in direct output in 2015. Direct output is defined as providing patient care. Adding in indirect output, that is the economic value of purchased goods and services, the total output rises to $2.3 trillion or $3,166,901 per physician.

Jobs: IQVIA used several datasets including AMA data for 736,873 patient care physicians who were practicing in the U.S. as of December 2015. In aggregate across all states, the number of jobs directly created by patient care physicians (including the number of physicians themselves) was 3,545,399. The total number of jobs supported by patient care physicians at the national level was 12,575,602; the average physician supported 17.07 jobs in the economy, including his or her own.

Wages and Benefits: The value of direct wages and benefits includes compensation paid to physicians and non-physician staff who are on payroll. In 2015, physicians supported $559.6 billion in direct wages and benefits in aggregate across all states. The total amount of wages and benefits supported by patient care physicians at the national level was $1.04 trillion (including the indirect wages and benefits supported by the industry), or an average of $1,417,958 per physician.

What’s the Point?

The American Medical Association is many things, but its primary mission is to represent the interests of U.S. physicians. In Washington, DC and at state capitols all over the country, the economic future of physicians is being debated.

If politicians really care about the economic life of their constituents, then U.S. physicians should be granted most favored status. In many communities, for example, the local hospital is the largest employer. These are clean, high paying and skilled jobs which support quality schools, modern police and fire departments and up-to-date infrastructures.

So, when legislatures are pondering how to fiddle with healthcare, data like this should remind them that they are messing with a golden goose.

Physicians Crush Lawyers

How golden?

IQVIA also provided similar economic output data for attorneys.

It was noteworthy that, based on the economic data in this report, physicians crush lawyers.

Here’s the data.

Source: IQVIA

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