When combined with an output multiplier developed by the United States Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total economic impact of the hospital was $123,092,354 in Upson County. Statewide, hospitals contributed $21.9 billion to the economy. This output multiplier considers the 'ripple' effect of direct hospital expenditures on other sectors of the economy, such as medical suppliers, durable medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals. Economic multipliers are used to model the resulting impact of a change in autonomous spending in one industry on the 'circular flow' of spending within an economy as a whole.
The report also measured the effect of a household earnings
multiplier which adds $31,205,877 to the local economy through Upson Regional Medical Center. As a whole, the Georgia hospital industry had a $7.4 billion impact in household earnings to the state's economy, bringing the total statewide impact to $29.3 billion. The household earnings multiplier measures the increased economic contributions from households employed directly or indirectly by hospitals through daily living expenditures.
"Upson Regional Medical Center has a tremendous impact on our local economy," said Thomas D. Plantz, CEO of Upson Regional Medical Center. "We are pleased to be able to support the economic viability of our area and improve the quality of life for our citizens and our community."
However, Mr. Plantz cited the need for increased federal, state, and local financial support of hospitals and health systems. Plantz stated that, "In 2001, Upson Regional Medical Center provided $2,935,381 in uncompensated care which includes indigent care and charity care write- offs. This nearly $3 million in write-offs reflect the care and service to those in need who do not have the ability to pay and do not have insurance."
The study also found that hospitals and health systems directly employ more than 136,000 people in the state and have a payroll that exceeds $3 billion annually. Upson Regional Medical Center employs 499 people and has a payroll of $22,030,743. Indirectly, more than 290,000 full-time jobs are sustained through Georgia hospitals from ancillary health services that contract with or provide services to these facilities, such as accountants, food suppliers, and medical equipment suppliers.
"In many communities, hospitals are the largest employers and most significant creators and sustainers of jobs and income," said GHA President Joseph A. Parker. "In addition, hospitals often serve as an integral part of the overall package used to attract industry to the community and the foundation which supports a wide variety of other health care services including physician practices, long-term care providers, home health agencies, rehabilitation providers, mental health services, and hospice services."
With over 60 percent of Georgia's acute care hospitals currently losing money in providing patient care, Parker called for increased support for Georgia's local hospitals.
"If health care policies do not support indigent care, if purchasers such as Medicaid, Medicare and managed care organizations continue to reduce payments, and if local communities do no financially support services provided to residents, then some hospitals may be forced to shut their doors," Parker said. "If that happens, the financial viability of many communities may be jeopardized along with their ability to attract business and industry."
Established in 1929, GHA is the leading trade organization of hospitals and health systems in the state providing education, research and risk management services to its more than 180 hospital and health system members. Additionally, it represents and advocates health policy issues benefitting Georgia's citizens before the state legislature and U.S. Congress as well as before regulatory bodies.