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Idaho physicians have outsize economic impact

A team of doctors at work.

A team of medical professionals at work. A new study from the American Medical Association says Idaho’s 2,700 physicians create about 12 jobs each. File photo.

Idaho’s 2,738 patient-facing physicians are responsible for creating on average 12.1 jobs each, for combined economic activity in the state of $5.2 billion, according to the 2018 American Medical Association Economic Impact Study.

The jobs creation figures encompass not only jobs in medical offices such as billing and clinical personnel, but also jobs created as a result of providing services and supplies to physicians’ offices, ranging from medical supply companies to janitorial services, said Susie Pouliot, CEO of the Idaho Medical Association in Boise. The AMA worked with a consulting company to perform the study on a national basis, as well as on a per-state basis, she said.

For the purposes of the study, a “physician” was defined as a patient care physician, with direct patient care services as their main activity, Pouliot said. That doesn’t include doctors who are teachers, administrators, or who work at an insurance company. The study is based on 2015 data, which she said is the most recent available.

photo of Susie Pouliot, CEO of the Idaho Medical Association

Susie Pouliot

The study came out as Idaho legislators were learning that Idaho ranks 49th per capita in the U.S. in the number of doctors and number of medical residencies, according to testimony on Jan. 10 at the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

In comparison, neighboring states of Oregon and Washington have 10,411 and 16,880 physicians, for an economic impact of $22.4 billion and $37.1 billion, respectively. In Idaho, physicians’ economic activity contributes 7.9 percent of the gross state product, the study found.

About Sharon Fisher

Sharon Fisher is an Idaho Business Review staff writer, covering financial institutions, technology, and business development. She holds a bachelor of science in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a masters in public administration and graduate certificates in geographic informational analysis and in community and regional planning from Boise State University. She likes explaining things and going to meetings. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_SLFisher.