ATLANTA — In 2012, Phoebe Putney Health System based in Albany, generated more than $1.2 billion in revenue for the local and state economy according to a recent report by the Georgia Hospital Association, the state’s largest hospital trade association. The report also found that, during the same time period, Phoebe Putney Health System provided approximately $56,854,670 in uncompensated care while sustaining more than 9,484 full-time jobs throughout Southwest Georgia and the rest of the state.
The report revealed that Phoebe Putney Health System had direct expenditures of more than $541,913,130 in 2012. When combined with the an economic multiplier developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total economic impact of those expenditures was $1,238,054,737. This output multiplier considers the “ripple” effect of direct hospital expenditures on other sectors of the economy, such as medical supplies, durable medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. Economic multipliers are used to model the resulting impact of a change in one industry on the “circular flow” of spending within an economy as a whole.
“This new report shows that, as the state’s economy continued its slow rebound from years of economic downturn, Phoebe Putney Health System maintained an enormous positive impact on our local economy,” said Joel Wernick, president/CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System. “We are so appreciative for the unwavering support from the communities of Southwest Georgia for their local hospitals and we will continue to work hard to ensure that the residents of this area have access to the best and safest health care services available.”
While Phoebe Putney Health System remains a major component of the area’s economic engine, the hospital’s leadership, like the rest of the Georgia hospital community, is concerned about a wide array of economic challenges that have made it increasingly difficult to meet the community’s health care needs including continued cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments and a fast-growing uninsured population. Presently, 42 percent of all hospitals in Georgia are operating with negative margins.
“We’re extremely concerned about the current operating environment for hospitals,” said Wernick. “We’ve made a commitment to every citizen of this community to be on call for them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, our ability to do so is being compromised when a growing number of our patients are either uninsured or severely underinsured.”
According to Wernick, state lawmakers must work to protect the state’s health care system with the same fervor that they do other initiatives like education and public utilities.
“Our local health care system is indispensable,” Wernick said. “It is not only the primary guardian of health in our community, but it is a major economic engine in this area that is responsible for 9,484 jobs. It is our hope that that our elected lawmakers will do what is necessary to protect our local health care system and preserve access to health care for every resident of Southwest Georgia.”
By Beth Alston, Americus Times-Recorder
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