Survey Shows Importance of Physicians to Economy

By Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski)

A recent study shows that private physicians account for more than 330,000 jobs and $9 billion in tax revenue throughout New York State. The study, sponsored in part by the Medical Society of the State of New York, ranked physician practices as second in total business establishments and sixth in total employment. The study reinforces that physicians are a major economic force in our state.

The study shows physicians’ practices impact the “structural economy”–meaning their presence goes beyond direct employment. Their employees and those indirectly employed consume goods and services and spend their wages in the region. The 124th Assembly district encompasses the majority of Oswego County and western portions of Onondaga County. I wanted to share with you some of the data found by the study, which illustrates the local impact doctors have on our economy.

o Oswego County physicians’ practices drive about $44 million into the county’s economy through the employment of 463 physicians and staff members.
o Oswego County private practice physicians directly or indirectly employ an average of 8 individuals and it is estimated that each practice contributes $715,000 into the economy.
o In Onondaga County, with four major hospitals, there are an estimated 427 physician practices, driving $1 billion into the county’s economy. An estimated 5,947 are employed through these offices.
o In Onondaga County, with the four hospitals, the “structural economic impact” is greater: Physician practices employ an average of 14 employees and put an estimated $2.4 million into the economy.

Not only are physicians important to our economic health but you can’t put a value on what they do on a daily basis. However, its becoming increasingly difficult for doctors to do business in New York. Medical malpractice insurance rates have skyrocketed in recent years, especially for obstetrics. Many OB-GYN offices have dropped the OB and stopped delivering babies or moved to friendlier states where liability insurance rates are lower. The medical society reports that young, well-trained physicians often leave New York after getting their degrees and set up practice in states like Texas, which has reformed its laws to reduce the cost of liability for doctors. Reform is needed in the court system and I support legislation that makes it more affordable for physicians to do business in New York.

I sponsor legislation, A6184, which would help reduce the medical malpractice liability insurance for doctors. The cost of medical malpractice lawsuits in the state of New York has increased steadily for several years. These cases have driven malpractice insurance premiums up for health care professionals and, subsequently, increased the cost of health care for the public. I would encourage residents to join me in my support of this legislation. It is unlikely that this bill will be brought to the Speaker’s agenda but with enough of a grassroots effort, real reform may be possible.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.