TN Medical Assn: Haslam’s Tort Reform Would Aid Physicians, Help Economy

Press Release from the Tennessee Medical Association, March 23, 2011:

Tort Reform Needed To Boost Physician Impact On TN Economy

A new national survey shows office-based physicians play a vital role in Tennessee’s economy, contributing $17.5 billion in economic activity and supporting over 75,000 jobs in 2009 alone. The TMA said tort reforms proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam would be the shot in the arm needed to further boost their economic impact in the Volunteer State.

“This survey by the American Medical Association shows that Tennessee’s physician offices are big contributors to our state’s economic engine,” said TMA President B W. Ruffner, MD. “If we are going to keep the doctors we have and attract new ones, we must pass these additional reforms to help reduce the threat of lawsuits and improve our overall business climate. The health of our citizens and our economy depend on it.”

Results of the AMA 2011 Economic Impact Study of Office-Based Physicians, conducted by The Lewin Group, were released nationally on Wednesday, March 23. The study found that, compared to other industries, office-based physicians almost always contribute more to state economies than the hospital, legal, nursing home and home health segments. Tennessee figures showed the benefits of creating a positive practice environment for physicians:

Jobs: Office-based physicians support 75,191 jobs in Tennessee; on average each individual physician supported 5.9 jobs, including his own

Output: Office-based physicians contribute $17.5 billion in economic output or sales revenue, representing 7.2 percent of the total GDP in Tennessee

Wages & Benefits: Office-based physicians in Tennessee generate $10.7 billion in wages and benefits

Taxes: Office-based physicians generate $542.7 million in state and local tax revenue for Tennessee communities

Charity Care: Office-based physicians also give back to their communities, providing an estimated $24.4 billion in charity care nationwide in 2008 alone.

“There are some heavy-hitters fighting these reforms, but Tennesseans and especially lawmakers must not lose sight of the common-sense benefits in Gov. Haslam’s proposal. This will help strengthen the practices of office-based physicians who are caring for you and your family members and, at the same time, supporting local economies in a powerful way,” said Dr. Ruffner.