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Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 10:05am

GA Hospitals Pump Billions Into Economy

A new report from the Georgia Hospital Association says, Georgia's hospitals injected more than 39 billion dollars into the state's economy in 2009.

That's nearly a billion dollars more than in 2008 and close to 3 billion dollars up from 2007.

As the state's unemployment rate climbed hospitals provided more than 140 thousand jobs.

But hospitals are feeling the pinch of high unemployment in other sectors of the economy. The association's spokesman Kevin Bloy says an increasing number of Georgians can't pay for emergency treatment.

"We're talking about hundreds of thousands of families that once had healthcare insurance no longer do and, guess what, their healthcare needs don't go away," says Bloye. "They still have the same needs that you and I do."

He says if things continue as they are there could be a serious impact on some hospitals.

"We fear that if this problem continues to worsen over the next few years we're going to potentially lose some of those hospitals, especially in smaller communities," Boyle says.

The report says in 2009 hospitals gave out more than a billion dollars in free care.