Stephens Co. Hospital Has $111 Million Impact on Local and State Economy

A report from the Georgia Hospital Association measures Stephens County Hospital’s impact on the local and state economy at over $100 million in 2011.

The report released recently stated that the hospital had direct expenditures of nearly $49 million in 2011.

According to the report, when that figure is combined with a multiplier taking into account the “ripple effect” of hospital expenditures on other areas of the economy, the total economic impact of those expenditures reached $111 million in 2011.

Stephens County Hospital Administrator Ed Gambrell said the report shows that even in challenging economic times, the hospital has a large positive impact on the local community.

“I think the purpose of the Georgia Hospital Association sending out this report is to show to the Georgia communities the very significant financial impact that their local hospitals make on their communities,” said Gambrell.  “So, of course, the key is for the local hospitals to be supported to not just continue, but to thrive.”

Calling it a “two-way street,” Gambrell went on to say that the hospital appreciates the support of the community that allows the hospital to have the effect it does economically.

“We depend on our local community to support the local hospital and the local doctors to support the hospital in order for us to survive,” said Gambrell.  “On the other side of it,, we are a very important part of this community and we contribute many dollars into the community.  Ask yourself, ‘What would Toccoa be like if StephensCountyHospital did not exist?’  It would be a very different community.”

Officials with the Georgia Hospital Association said that despite these economic impact figures, challenges lie ahead for all hospitals, including Stephens County Hospital.

The GHA pointed to continued cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments and a fast-growing uninsured population as two large issues negatively affecting bottom lines for hospitals across the state.

According to the report, StephensCountyHospital provided approximately $5.7 million in uncompensated care in 2011.

Gambrell acknowledged that the hospital is no different when it comes to tight times from a budgetary perspective.

He said work must take place to ensure that the health care system locally and across Georgia remains strong.

“It is certainly in everyone’s best interest that hospitals continue to survive during this very challenging financial time,” said Gambrell.  “From a legislative standpoint, it is important that the legislators understand this and comprehend that if hospitals are forced to close because of financial issues, that will have a very large domino effect on local economies as well.”

The Georgia Hospital Association report also stated that StephensCountyHospital sustained more than 500 full-time jobs through Stephens County and the rest of the state.