ATLANTA – Habersham Medical Center generates more than $89 million in revenue for the local and state economy according to a recent report by the Georgia Hospital Association, the state’s largest hospital trade association. The report also found that, during 2015, Habersham Medical Center provided approximately $5 million in uncompensated care while sustaining more than 700 jobs.
The report revealed that Habersham Medical Center had direct expenditures of more than $38 million in 2015. When combined with the an economic multiplier developed by the United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total economic impact of those expenditures was more $89 million. This output multiplier considers the “ripple” effect of direct hospital expenditures on other sectors of the economy, such as medical supplies, durable medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals. Economic multipliers are used to model the resulting impact of a change in one industry on the “circular flow” of spending within an economy as a whole.
“While Habersham Medical Center is well-known for its role in meeting the health care needs of residents of Habersham and surrounding counties, it also plays an integral role in protecting our area’s economic health,” said Jerry Wise, CEO of Habersham Medical Center. “We are very appreciative of our community’s unwavering support of its local hospital and will continue to work hard to ensure the residents of this area have access to the best and safest health care services available.”
While Habersham Medical Center remains a major component of the area’s economic engine, the hospital’s leadership, like the rest of the Georgia hospital community, is concerned about a wide array of economic challenges that have made it increasingly difficult to meet the community’s health care needs. These include a fast-growing uninsured population and inadequate payments from government insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid. Presently, 42 percent of all hospitals in Georgia are operating with negative margins.
“We’re extremely concerned about the current operating environment for hospitals,” says Wise. “We’ve made a commitment to every citizen of this community to be there for them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, our ability to do so is being compromised when so many of our patients are either uninsured or severely underinsured.”
According to Wise, every community needs nearby access to a strong, vibrant health care system that will not only meet the health care needs of its residents, but also attract other industries and businesses to the area.
“Our local health care system is indispensable,” Wise adds. “It is not only the primary guardian of health in our community, but it is a major economic engine in this area that is responsible for more than 700 fulltime and part-time jobs. It is our hope that our elected lawmakers will do what is necessary to protect our local health care system and preserve access to health care for every resident of Habersham and surrounding counties.”