Thursday, September 17, 2009

Expansion of Health Care Industry and New Hospital will have Significant Economic Impact on Region

The expansion of the health care industry through the construction of a new hospital will have a significant economic impact on the Greater Owensboro region, according to an analysis by the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation (GO-EDC).

Hospitals make substantial contributions to local and regionaleconomies through the purchase of goods and services and theemployment of large numbers of workers. An analysis of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics by GO-EDC demonstrates that health care is a base industry in the Owensboro metropolitan statistical area, meaning that each dollar in earnings and jobs for employment create additional earnings and jobs in the region. The investment by the Owensboro Medical Health System (OMHS) in the local economy with a new hospital will lead to 500 new long-term health care jobs over the next five years, which will ultimately translate to a total of 800 net new jobs in the region and over $24 million in new payroll earnings in the five county area.OMHS current annual payroll is $162,936,094, employing 3,147, an increase of 1,000 people since 1995.

The jobs and earnings numbers are not counting the construction phase of the project or the jobs that come along with new physicians recruited to the region as a result of the new hospital. The construction phase alone, according to BEA multipliers, will create over 4,000 jobs, $450,000,000 in new output and $139,000,000 in additional earnings for the region.

“Little attention is paid hospitals from an economic development perspective, and this is unfortunate,” said EDC President Nick Brake. “The lack of attention is, in part; because of the perception that health care is only a locally serving activity that has little impact on driving a metropolitan area's economic prosperity. Evidence from around the country is showing us otherwise. Hospitals are significant contributors to the economic base of regions. This analysis indicates that is the case here in Owensboro.”

Recent research at the University of New Orleans (Nelson, 2009) indicates that hospitals are substantial contributors to the economic base of slow-growth and larger metros. The study indicated that hospitals in small metropolitan regions, such as Owensboro, have the potential to evolve as a significant export industry because they often provide basic care in surrounding geographic areas. The expansion of OMHS as an 11 county regional medical center means that health care will likely grow as an export industry, adding significantly to the regional economic base. For more information about the New Orleans study please visit

Another significant measure of export revenue from the health care industry is the percentage of Medicare received from Medicare patients outside the metropolitan area. According to data supplied by OMHS, roughly $75 million in net payments, or 20 percent, come from patients outside the Owensboro MSA. The median percentage in the University of New Orleans analysis was 12 percent.

Additional data analyzed from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a stronger concentration of health care related occupations in the Greater Owensboro region than nationally, another indicator of the significance of the health care sector to the overall regional economic base. The average salary for health practitioner occupations in the Greater Owensboro region is over $52,000 per year, more than double the median income of the Owensboro MSA.

Click here to see full analysis, including BEA multipliers and BLS location quotients.