The report revealed the direct expenditure of the hospital was $44,465,000 in 2002. For all Georgia hospitals, the figure was $10.6 billion. However, when combined with an output multiplier developed by the United States Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Anaylsis, the total economic impact of the hospital was $99,597,000. Statewide, hospitals contributed $23.9 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.
The report also measured the effect of a household earnings multiplier which adds $33,825,000 to the local economy through Upson Regional Medical Center.
As a whole, the Georgia hospital industry had a $8.1 billion impact in household earnings to the state's economy, bringing the total statewide impact to $32 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 an enormous impact on the local economy which makes us very proud," said Tom 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 lives of hundreds of citizens in our community."
However, Plantz cited the need for increased federal, state and local financial support of hospitals and health systems.
"In 2002, Upson Regional Medical Center provided $4,151,000 in uncompensated care, which includes indigent care, charity care, other free care and bad debt write-offs."
The study also found that hospitals and health systems directly employ more than 130,000 people in the state and have a payroll that exceeds $3 billion annually. Upson Regional Medical Center employs 630 people and has a payroll of $21,688,000. Indirectly, more than 322,000 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 50 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 not 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."