Mississippi doctors are having a multi-billion dollar impact on economic growth. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, a new study on the medical industry shows how deep the dollars go.
The 2018 Economic Impact Study by the American Medical Association finds doctors and physician practices in Mississippi create more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs, contribute more than $300 million in state and local tax revenue, and spur more than $8 billion of overall economic activity. Dr. Bill Grantham, President of the Mississippi State Medical Association, says the data is better than expected. He says the current mission is to encourage students to study medicine and keep them in-state after graduation.
"With our many underserved areas, we really need the physicians for the preventative care, and to take care of the people of Mississippi. But in so doing, the side benefit, if you will, is that the economic benefits are huge."
Benjamin Lambert is a fourth year medical student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He's from Como, a rural town in Panola County. He's in the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.
Under the scholarship requirements, Lambert will serve in a town in the state with less than 20,000 people after he completes his medical residency.
"It's kind of our duty, our responsibility to be able to give back to these people. So, that's part of what I hope to do, to provide care to the people who really helped raised me."
The study also shows each physician in Mississippi generates nearly $2 million of economic output.