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8685.0 - Private Medical Practices, Australia, 1994-95  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/02/1997   
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INTRODUCTION
As part of its ongoing program of collections from the services sector of the economy, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducted two surveys of the private medical practice industry in respect of 199495. It is the first time that the ABS has conducted such surveys of this industry.

The first survey was a sample of medical practitioners selected from the Health Insurance Commission's Medicare Provider File. The second survey was of private practice medical businesses (and their related administrative service businesses) which were identified from the first survey, classified to the following classes of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC):

  • Class 8621 General Practice Medical Services;
  • Class 8622 Specialist Medical Services; and
  • Class 8631 Pathology Services (businesses mainly operating pathology laboratories).

Results from the earlier survey of medical practitioners were released in the publication Private Medical Practitioners, Australia, 1994-95 (8689.0). It contained demographic data on general practitioners and specialists, as well as information on qualifications, average hours worked and number of consultations.

This publication presents results from the survey of medical businesses. Employment and financial data are provided for the general practice medical service industry, the specialist medical service industry and the pathology services industry in respect of the 1994-95 financial year.

These publications contain a selection of the information available from the surveys. More detailed information is available from the ABS on request. This includes in-depth statistical analysis in formats tailored to meet the needs of individual clients.

The ABS is committed to providing more information on the service industries sector of the economy. However, the breadth of activities encompassed in the sector poses the problem of selecting which industries to include. To this end the ABS welcomes comments and suggestions from users recommending industries, and data items for inclusion in future surveys. These comments should be addressed to: The Director, Service Industries Surveys, PO Box 10, Belconnen, ACT, 2616.

OVERVIEW

introduction
This publication presents results from a survey of private medical practice businesses in respect of the 1994-95 financial year. The private medical practice industry is defined in terms of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) as:
  • Class 8621 General Practice Medical Services; consisting of businesses of registered medical practitioners (including such units as medical clinics and group practices) mainly engaged in providing general practice services; and
  • Class 8622 Specialist Medical Services; consisting of businesses of registered medical practitioners mainly engaged in providing specialist medical services, other than pathology services.

Tables 111 show employment and financial statistics for the general practice and specialist medical industries.

This publication also includes information in respect of:
  • Class 8631 Pathology Services; consisting of units mainly engaged in operating pathology laboratories.

Tables 3, 12 and 13 show statistics for the pathology services industry.

general practice and specialist medical businesses

There are broadly two types of entities involved in the conduct of general practice and specialist medical businesses; the medical business and its associated administrative service business. An administrative service business is a service company or trust established to provide administrative, secretarial or similar services to one or more medical businesses.

Usually fee for medical service income is accounted for by the medical business, and a proportion of the medical business' income is paid to the associated administrative service business, which uses this income to pay various expenses (e.g. wages, rent, etc.) relating to the conduct of the medical business.

For the purposes of this survey, data for these two types of businesses have been combined and payments (see page 2) between administrative service businesses and medical businesses have been netted out.

the medical practice
Another unit of interest in the industry is that of the medical practice, i.e. medical businesses working jointly, usually from the same location. While no data on medical practices were directly collected in the survey, estimates have been derived by bringing together the data for all medical businesses associated with common administrative service entities as a single practice. For those medical businesses that operate without an administrative service entity it has been assumed that each medical business equates to a single practice.

Data for medical practices so defined are presented in tables 9, 10 and 11.

counts of businesses and practices
There were 22,298 general practice and specialist medical businesses at the end of June 1995. Of these medical businesses, 13,268 did not have an administrative service business. The remaining 9,030 medical businesses (40%) were associated with 6,847 administrative service businesses. It is estimated that there were 19,932 medical practices. The number of practices is the sum of the number of businesses without a service entity (13,268) and the number of administrative service businesses (6,847) less an estimate for the number of practices with multiple administrative service businesses. Table 1 summarises the counts of medical and administrative service businesses and medical practices.


Number of Medical and Administrative Service Businesses, 1994-95

General practice medical services
Specialist medical services
Total
no.
%
no.
%
no.
%
Medical businesses without an administrative service business
7 109
59.6
6 159
59.4
13 268
59.5
Medical businesses with an administrative service business
4 824
40.4
4 205
40.6
9 030
40.5
Total medical businesses
11 933
100.0
10 364
100.0
22 298
100.0
Administrative service businesses
3 324
. .
3 524
. .
6 847
. .
Medical practices
10 349
. .
9 583
. .
19 932
. .
payments to and from administrative service businessesBecause of the structure of the private medical practice industry, payments between medical businesses and administrative service businesses were significant income and expense items. Medical businesses reimbursed administrative service businesses for management service and staff provided; and in a small number of cases administrative service businesses reimbursed medical businesses where fees for service were paid directly to the administrative service business.
In the tables in this publication, these transactions have been netted out. Table 2 shows the value of these transactions. In total, $1,762.6 million was paid by medical businesses to administrative service businesses.

Payments Between Medical and Administrative Service Businesses, 1994-95

General practice
medical services
Specialist
medical services
Total
Item
$m
$m
$m
Medical income received from administrative service businesses
17.3
5.7
23.0
Payments to administrative service businesses
682.0
1 080.6
1 762.6

SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS

income
The private medical practice industry accrued total income of $7,240.9 million in 1994-95. Fee for medical service was the major item accounting for $6,561.8 million or 91% of total income.

Average fee for medical service income per medical practitioner was $193,100 with general practice medical practitioners recording $124,900 and specialist medical practitioners recording $300,900.

expenses
In 1994-95, the private medical practice industry incurred total expenses of $5,390.6 million. The most significant item of expense was labour costs which accounted for 56% of total expenses.

profitability
After deduction of expenses from income, the private medical practice industry recorded an operating profit before tax of $1,850.3 million for the year ended 30 June 1995. The general practice medical industry recorded an operating profit before tax of $778.2 million which represented an operating profit margin of 27.6%. The specialist medical industry recorded an operating profit before tax of $1,072.1 million but a slightly lower operating profit margin of 24.6%.

employment
Total employment in the private medical practice industry was 106,134 persons with 51% employed in the general practice medical industry and 51,477 persons (49%) employed in the specialist medical industry. Employment in the private medical practice industry was evenly divided between full-time (52%) and part-time employees (48%).

The industry recorded employment of 33,987 medical practitioners, of whom 61% were general practitioners and 39% were specialists.

state
The distribution of industry employment, wages and medical and operating income across States and Territories were consistent with their shares of the estimated resident population of Australia. In terms of employment proportions, New South Wales accounted for 34%, Victoria 25%, Queensland 17%, South Australia 11%, Western Australia 9%, Tasmania 3%, the Northern Territory 1% and the Australian Capital Territory 1%.

size of medical practice
Groupings by number of medical practitioners
Small medical practices (i.e. those practices with one to two medical practitioners) accounted for the majority (55%) of employment in the industry, compared with 19% for medium-sized practices (i.e. those practices with three to five medical practitioners), and 25% for larger practices (i.e. those practices with six or more medical practitioners).

The domination of small practices was more evident in the specialist medical industry where they accounted for 61% of employment compared with the general practice medical industry where small practices accounted for 50% of total employment.

In terms of operating profit margin, medium-sized and large practices had the highest rate of return 27.8% and 27.2% respectively. Small practices had a rate of return of 24.4%.

Income size groupings
Of the 33,987 medical practitioners employed by medical businesses at the end of June 1995, 19% worked in practices with total income of $100,000 or less. These practices accounted for 9% of total employment but only 3% of total income. These practices had 0.5 other employees for every medical practitioner compared with an industry average of 2.1. Although their income was relatively low, these practices also had the highest operating profit margin (35.6%).

There were 5,300 (16%) medical practitioners employed by medical businesses in medical practices that generated more than $1 million in total income. These practices accounted for 27% of total employment and 34% of total income. These practices had 4.5 other employees for every medical practitioner.


pathology services
The pathology services industry recorded an operating profit before tax of $29.8 million and an operating profit margin of 16.1% for the year ended 30 June 1995.

There were 3,020 persons employed in the pathology services industry and 63% of these persons were in full-time employment.

SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS, 1994-95
Item
Unit
General practice medical services
Specialist medical services
Total medical services
Pathology laboratory services
Businesses at end June 1995
Medical businesses
no.
11 933
10 364
22 298
17
Administrative service businesses
no.
3 324
3 524
6 847
Employment
Medical practitioners
no.
20 825
13 161
33 987
-
Other employees
no.
33 831
38 316
72 147
3 020
Total employment end June 1995
no.
54 657
51 477
106 134
3 020
Income statement
Fee for medical service
$m
2 601.5
3 960.2
6 561.8
184.8
Other sales of goods and services
$m
215.1
391.7
606.8
Less
Purchases and selected expenses
$m
672.8
1 238.6
1 911.4
77.9
Trading profit
$m
2 143.9
3 113.3
5 257.2
106.9
Plus
Interest income
$m
8.1
24.0
32.1
0.2
Other non-operating income
$m
11.5
28.6
40.2
Less
Labour costs
$m
1 243.5
1 768.4
3 011.9
68.4
Depreciation and amortisation
$m
44.5
120.2
164.7
5.7
Other expenses
$m
46.2
101.7
147.9
1.7
Earnings before interest and tax
$m
829.4
1 175.6
2 005.0
31.3
Less
Interest expenses
$m
51.2
103.6
154.7
1.5
Operating profit before tax
$m
778.2
1 072.1
1 850.3
29.8
Operating profit margin
%
27.6
24.6
25.8
16.1
Industry gross product
$m
2 143.9
3 113.3
5 257.2
106.9


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