Health care is a vital component of the Texas economy,
generating tens of billions of dollars in revenue each year and
providing hundreds of thousands of jobs. For example, the 42
hospitals and other institutions that compose the Texas Medical
Center (TMC) in Houston have a combined annual operating budget of
$5.4 billion and employ more than 61,000 people.
Indirectly, TMC generates some $13.5 billion for the Houston
economy, according to the medical center's 2003 statistics.
Meanwhile, health care is one of Texas' largest employers. And
it is one of the fastest growing. Employment in health services
represents 6.9 percent of the job market and 7.2 percent of total
worker earnings in Texas.
In 2005, hospitals, physicians' offices, medical and dental
laboratories, home health care providers, and other health
facilities provided some 866,900 jobs in Texas. The Texas Workforce
Commission (TWC) says employment in the ambulatory care sector,
which includes physician offices and other outpatient services, is
growing the fastest, at 3.7 percent per year.
Private sector health care services employed more than 862,000
Texans in 2001, with a combined annual payroll exceeding $32
billion. Texas state and local governments employed another 125,900
health and hospital workers, with an annual payroll of $3.8
billion. Allopathic and osteopathic physicians alone employed
almost 133,000 people in 2000. That will grow by roughly one-third,
to nearly 176,000 by 2010. TWC ranks offices and clinics of medical
doctors, osteopathic physicians, and other health care
practitioners as three of the 15 fastest-growing industries in the
A healthy and viable medical system is vital for Texas'
continued economic development. Without a healthy and educated
workforce or ready access to high-quality medical care, the state
cannot attract new industries and employers. Unfortunately, many
areas of Texas suffer from a lack of health care professionals and
health care infrastructure. And millions of our residents find
accessing medical care a challenge because they are uninsured or
Although health care collectively is big business, individual
physician practices are small businesses - mostly very small and
often struggling. About 40 percent of Texas physicians are solo
practitioners; another 25 percent are in small groups of two to six
physicians. These small practices each employ four to five
additional workers per physician and have large overhead expenses.
In recent surveys, two-thirds of Texas physicians report having
trouble covering payroll and other practice expenses because of
difficulties in collecting timely or adequate payment from insurers
and government payers.
2006 City of Houston Budget Plan.
Temple L, Hughes M. Texas Workforce Commission. Jobs in the 21st
Century; December 2003.
Texas Workforce Commission. Texas Labor Market Review; September