Report: TN Doctors Inject Cash into State Economy

A new report focuses not on high healthcare costs, but on the economic benefits that Tennessee doctors bring to their communities, from creating jobs to paying taxes. (Micha K/Flickr)

They cure what ails us, but Tennessee doctors also are improving the health of the state’s economy, according to a new report.
The findings from the Tennessee Medical Association cover “The Economic Impact of Physicians in Tennessee,” and says doctors in the Volunteer State support 175,000 jobs and generate $29 billion in economic activity annually.
Dave Chaney, vice president with the Tennessee Medical Association, says the role the health care field plays in state and local economies is significant.
“Patients rightfully think of doctors as caregivers who safeguard the health and well-being of people who live and work in their communities,” says Chaney. “But there’s a clear economic impact that the medical profession has, on their communities and statewide.”
The report says Tennessee doctors generate almost $14 billion in wages and benefits and create $908 million in state and local tax revenue. In addition to medical professionals, practices employ people with clerical, business management and finance skills, all of which support jobs that pay higher than a living wage.
The report does not address the increasing costs of healthcare.
Chaney says the variety of industries doctors support may surprise you.
“You think about the number of people it takes, the amount of work that it takes to run a medical practice, especially for mid-size and large groups that are big businesses,” he says. “They employ many people in different professions beyond those that are actually practicing medicine.”
The report also found that every dollar applied to physician services in Tennessee supports another two dollars in business activity. Chaney adds that one challenge to the profession is the additional paperwork now required as a result of health insurance and public benefits.