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Health Care & Our Local Economy

by Steve McCarthy, PT, MBA

Health care can mean different things to different people. For us here, in southwest Wisconsin, a new study by the UW Extension shines some light on just how much is really does mean for us locally. What they found may surprise you.

impact chartIn its last fiscal year, Southwest Health generated $72 million in local economic activity, according to the study.

What’s amazing is even without stopping to consider the impact we make on the HEALTH– the fact that last year we performed more than 125,000 outpatient procedures and treatments, or that we provided more than 5,000 days of care at our hospital or 27,000 days of skilled nursing care at Epione Pavilion… or that our medical staff saw 45,000 patients, and our surgeons performed 1,100 surgeries – the enormity of the ECONOMIC impact we create is still quite enough to make even the most disinterested among us sit up and take notice.

Why? Because Southwest Health jobs and economic activity on this scale are an engine that drives our area’s economy. We now provide jobs for more than 500 people. That fact, combine with our direct economic activity ($46 million), spurs more than $26 million in indirect economic activity. Products and services we purchase, the salaries and wages our employees spend on more goods and services, plus the taxes paid on employee wages, all combine to add tens of millions of dollars in fuel for our area’s economy.

And according to the reports expert authors, that fuel creates an additional 221 jobs in southwest Wisconsin.

Reality is, even since we provided the numbers used for that report, Southwest Health’s workforce has grown by 11 percent, making our ongoing impact today even greater.  In fact, no matter how you measure it, 2015 was the most impactful year in our history, and we’re poised to grow that again in 2016.

“Hospitals in our state are job creators, and they are among the state’s largest employers,” says WHA president/CEO Eric Borgerding. “This study shows that health care is much more to Wisconsin than hospitals, doctors, and clinics. The ripple effect of the health care sector in employment numbers and on our state’s economy is enormous.”

impact mapWe’re also working hard to create a healthier southwest Wisconsin, offering programs and activities that help people get well, live better, and get more out of life. Health education, health needs planning, disaster preparedness, health screenings and sports physicals, and charity care are some of the additional ways we impact lives beyond our every day services.

It is, indeed, our great privilege to serve the people of southwest Wisconsin. We come to work each day filled with pride to be making such a tremendously positive and growing impact on both health and the economy. The well-being of the people we serve is what drives us forward. And we look forward to another amazing and impactful year in 2016.

Steve McCarthy, PT, MBA
Chief Operating Officer

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