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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Health center’s impact felt

Feb 28, 2018

DES MOINES – The Jefferson County Health Center generates 313 jobs that add more than $18 million to the county’s economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association.

In addition, JCHC employees by themselves spend nearly $5.2 million on retail sales and contribute about $310,000 in state sales tax revenue.

“This study shows that, even in these difficult economic times, JCHC has a great positive impact on our local economy,” said Renee Rebling, JCHC board chairwoman. “We are grateful for the community’s support of our local hospital and we will continue to work hard to ensure that the citizens of this community have quality health care services.”

The IHA study examined the jobs, income, retail sales and sales tax produced by hospitals and the rest of the state’s health care sector. The study was compiled from hospital-submitted data on the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey of Hospitals and with software that other industries have used to determine their economic impact.

The study found that Iowa hospitals directly employ 74,691 people and create another 57,586 jobs outside the hospital sector. As an income source, hospitals provide $4.8 billion in salaries and benefits and generate another $2.3 billion through other jobs that depend on hospitals.

In all, Iowa’s health care sector, which includes offices of physicians, dentists and other health practitioners, nursing home and residential care, other medical and health services and pharmacies, contributes $17 billion to the state’s economy while directly and indirectly providing 330,308 jobs, or about 20 percent of the state’s total non-farm employment.

“Hospitals and health care are vital to the economy in all parts of the state, both urban and rural,” said IHA president and CEO Kirk Norris. “With more than 330,000 jobs, health care is one of Iowa’s largest employers, and hospitals remain, by far, the biggest contributor to that enormous impact. In Iowa cities and counties, hospitals are uniformly among the largest employers. Those jobs bring income to Main Street businesses and support local government services and infrastructure through taxes.”

Norris said that, as possible cuts to Medicaid and Medicare are contemplated, hospital services and jobs are put at risk – and with them a large swath of the Iowa economy.

“These facts need to be front-of-mind among our political leaders in Washington, DC and Des Moines. They need to understand that when legislation and regulations financially impact hospitals and health care, they also impact jobs and business in every part of the state,” he said.

The Iowa Hospital Association is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business, government and consumer audiences. All of Iowa’s 118 community hospitals are IHA members.

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