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Hospital is a force in area

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Posted: Friday, May 4, 2018 4:15 pm

Hospitals have always been important for the physical health of a community. But more and more in America, hospitals are becoming crucial for economic health as well.

At the national level, our country spends almost 18 percent of our Gross Domestic Product on healthcare, for a total of $3.3 trillion, and hospitals represent $1.1 trillion of that. One out of every nine jobs in the United States is in a hospital, according to the American Hospital Association.

The numbers are large at the state level, too. Hospitals in Georgia spent $21 billion in 2016 and employed over 150,000 people.

And now, with a recent a report from the Georgia Hospitals Association, we can see the economic impact of our hospital in Walton County.

Piedmont Walton hospital, previously Clearview Regional Medical Center, is an economic anchor in the community. One measure of this is through jobs; where the hospital is one of Monroe’s biggest employers with 400 full-time employees.

There are several other ways to look at the larger economic impact of the hospital. The report said Piedmont Walton spent more than $48 million in 2016.

But when this is multiplied across the economic sphere to include activity caused by those expenditures, like purchases of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, the total impact of those expenditures is over $111 million.

Piedmont’s impact extends past pure economics, however. Hospitals provide uncompensated care, or care to those who can’t pay for it. In 2016, the local hospital provided $6 million in uncompensated care.

Piedmont, which bought Clearview earlier this year, has 11 locations in the region. They spent $2 billion in 2016 and provided around $165 million in uncompensated care. 

Piedmont Walton CEO Larry Ebert wasn’t in charge of the hospital over the time when the report was done, but he said it still reflects his hospital’s dedication to helping those in the region in a variety of ways.

“While Piedmont Walton is well known for its role in meeting the health care needs of the residents of Walton County, it also plays an integral role in protecting our area’s economic health,” Ebert said.

“We are thankful for the community’s partnership with their local hospital and will continue to work hard to ensure that area residents have access to the best and safest health care services available,” he added.

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