While hospitals provide patient care to those in our community who are sick and need care the most, they also contribute to the well being of people who may never enter the facility.
A Georgia Hospital Association report estimates Upson Regional pumped more than $132 million into the local economy in 2012.
The 2012 data is the latest available from the Georgia Department of Community Health, and the economic impact analysis includes direct impact and an economic multiplier that takes into account the flow of spending within an economy as well.
Kyle Fletcher, Director of the Thomaston-Upson Industrial Development Authority says the economic impact of Upson is quite a shot in the arm for the local area in terms of retaining existing business and recruiting new industry.
“The mere presence of a hospital in a community offers residents access to well-paying jobs that are close to home while serving as a key factor in attracting other businesses to open in, or move to, that area,” Georgia Hospital Association President and CEO Earl Rogers said in a news release.
“After incentives, education and healthcare are differentiators in a prospect’s search for a location,” Fletcher said. “Our hospital creates a ripple effect throughout the local economy. It employs more than 500 people with good paying jobs, and that income supports higher-end housing, helps our tax base, and supports restaurants, shops, arts, education and charitable giving.”
The report also found that Upson provided more than $8 million in uncompensated care while sustaining more than 1,200 full-time jobs throughout its seven-county service area and the rest of the state. Upson creates jobs not by simply hiring more staff, but through operating activities and investing in capital projects. In Georgia, the hospital multiplier is calculated to be 2.2—for every one job in a hospital, another 1.2 jobs are created/
sustained in the area.
Statewide hospitals provided more than $1.6 billion in unpaid care, an increase of about $60 million from 2011, the report stated. Nearly 1.9 million Georgia residents — or 19 percent — are uninsured. About 13% of Upson’s total patient population is uninsured, a number that has been steadily ticking up over the years.
David Castleberry, CEO of Upson, said that the hospital has maintained a tremendously positive impact on the local economy during the recent recession and economic downturn. “As our uncompensated care number goes up and our margin goes down, we are committed to staying the course, ensuring care for all those we serve regardless of their ability to pay, and we are committed to working with Kyle and IDA Directors throughout the region to help grow jobs and our local economy.”