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Monday, May 28, 2012 - 5:00am

Ga. Hospitals Add $38B To Economy

Georgia’s hospitals contribute $38 billion to the state’s economy, according to a new analysis from the Georgia Hospital Association.

The total includes jobs, direct spending and the ripple effects of that spending and employment, which is calculated using a multiplier of economic impact from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The latest data is from 2010, and it shows hospitals employed about 157,000 people directly and are responsible for another 180,000 jobs.

“The mere presence of a hospital creates many more jobs not just inside a hospital but outside as well with vendors, even with restaurants that are nearby a hospital because obviously so many employees and patients would eat at those restaurants,” said Kevin Bloye, the hospital association’s spokesman.

For example, Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville contributed more than $1 billion to its region, about half of that in direct spending. And in the Macon area, Medical Center of Central Georgia added more than $1.3 billion to middle Georgia’s economy.

Bloye said medical centers still have economic challenges, however, including providing care to patients who can’t pay because they have lost their health insurance.

“They end up in the hospital emergency room and they can be seen there without insurance,” he said. “What that does is create a huge burden on the emergency room system within our hospitals and also create a huge uncompensated care burden that continues to escalate each year.”

The report said Georgia hospitals provided $1.5 billion in “uncompensated” care in 2010, an increase of more than 12 percent from 2007.