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Spencer Hospital Boosts the Local Economy

Jun 06, 2019 12:19PM ● By Alyssa McGinnis

A recent study by the Iowa Hospital Association indicates that Spencer Hospital generated nearly $46 million in economic impact for the local economy last year.

“We’re all aware of the importance of access to local healthcare services,” commented Bill Bumgarner, Spencer Hospital president. “However, an added benefit that a hospital offers its community is the significant and positive compounding effect of its employment and purchasing practices on the region’s economy.”

The hospital association’s study compiles information on how Iowa hospitals impact the state's economy, using data from the American Hospital Association.  The study projects how each hospital stimulates its local economy through jobs maintained, income paid to employees, retail sales by the hospital and sales tax generated. Spencer Hospital is credited for being a major contributor to the local economy, with an impact of approximately $46 million annually.

“This data clearly demonstrates the significant positive economic impact that Spencer Hospital has on our community,” Bumgarner said.  “Statewide, each county can share a similar story of how local healthcare benefits the citizens of those communities.”

Bumgarner stated that its important for elected officials, both at the state and national level, to not overlook how important hospitals are to local economies – especially in rural areas – when contemplating changes to healthcare policy.

“For example, healthcare providers throughout the state are still struggling with process and payment inefficiencies with Iowa’s Medicaid managed care program,” he said.  “This was a policy change that occurred without meaningful engagement with healthcare professionals or even the state legislature.”

Bumgarner said that federal elected officials have generally been responsive to the unique challenges faced by rural hospitals.  He cited Senator Charles Grassley’s long support for special Medicare payment programs for rural hospitals and President Barack Obama’s advancement of the Affordable Care Act, which improved healthcare access for thousands of Iowans.