Great River Medical Center makes $116 million impact in Des Moines County

Great River Medical Center generates 2,653 jobs that add more than $116 million to Southeast Iowa’s economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA). In addition, hospital employees by themselves spend nearly $37 million on retail sales and contribute $2.2 million in state sales tax revenue.

The study doesn’t include the impact of Great River Health System’ more than 20 clinics, three pharmacies and two medical supplies stores.

“As southeast Iowa’s largest employer, Great River Health System obviously has a significant impact on the regional economy,” said Mark Richardson, president and CEO. “As the locally owned community hospital, we take this responsibility very seriously, and we always try to be a leader, both as an employer and in support of the communities we serve.”

The IHA study examined the jobs, income, retail sales and sales tax produced by hospitals and the rest of the state’s health care sector. The study was compiled from hospital-submitted data on the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey of Hospitals and with software that other industries have used to determine their economic impact.

The study found that Iowa hospitals directly employ 72,008 people and create another 55,492 jobs outside the hospital sector. As an income source, hospitals provide $4.5 billion in salaries and benefits, and generate another $2.3 billion through other jobs that depend on hospitals.

In all, Iowa’s health care sector, which includes offices of physicians, dentists and other health practitioners, nursing home and residential care, other medical and health services and pharmacies, contributes $16.6 billion to the state economy while directly and indirectly providing 324,977 jobs, or about one-fifth of the state’s total non-farm employment.

“Through the many changes in health care, there is one certainty: That hospitals and health care are vital to Iowa’s economy,” said IHA President and CEO Kirk Norris. “With nearly 325,000 jobs, health care is one of Iowa’s largest employers, and hospitals remain, by far, the biggest contributor to that number. In Iowa cities and counties, hospitals are uniformly among the largest employers.

“As our political leaders in Washington, D.C., and Des Moines consider legislation and regulations that impact hospitals and health care, they need to keep these facts in mind. As providers of high-quality, low-cost health care, good jobs and economic stability, there is no replacement for community hospitals.”

The IHA is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business, government and consumer audiences. All of Iowa’s 118 community hospitals are IHA members.