Economic impact and community benefits

Iowa's community hospitals are irreplaceable assets

A hospital is an asset to its community or region. It provides communities with easy access to the broad spectrum of essential health care services: primary care, surgery, laboratory services, emergency care, mental health services, hospice and technology like PET scanning and magnetic resonance imaging.

Hospitals also offer community benefits in the form of charity care and free and reduced-cost services like immunizations, health screenings and counseling. Many of these programs and services wouldn't exist without hospital resources and leadership. Hospitals as health care providers are irreplaceable. But hospitals are also essential in another way: as economic engines that are among the largest employers in their communities and the state.

$5.5 billion impact

Iowa hospitals create an enormous economic impact statewide. Hospitals not only provide jobs, they also create jobs by purchasing goods and services from other businesses. And hospitals are essential to local and statewide economic development. Companies that want to relocate or expand demand access to comprehensive, high-quality health care services. According to an Iowa Hospital Association study, Iowa hospitals provide more than 78,000 jobs that pay more than $5 billion in wages. No wonder most Iowa hospitals are among the largest employers in their counties.

And these are not ordinary jobs. Most hospital employees are highly skilled, well-paid professionals who not only have college and postgraduate degrees, but also regularly update their skills through continuing education.

Multiplying the benefit

The economic impact of hospitals extends beyond the people hired and the salaries paid. The business and household needs of hospitals and their employees creates a multiplier effect that supports thousands of additional jobs. This means more than 149,000 total jobs are tied to Iowa hospitals, creating an impact worth nearly $8.8 billion to Iowa's economy.

Supporting their communities

Community benefits are activities to improve the health status and increase access to health care. With uncompensated care (bad debt) and charity care, community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutrition services and transportation programs. Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2021 valued at more than $740 million that served more than 2.6 million people.

Questions about the IHA Economic Impact Report or the community benefits information can be emailed to Allison Martin at IHA.

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