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Iowa’s community hospitals generate 149,096 jobs that add more than $5.8 billion to the state’s economy, according to the Iowa Hospital Association’s latest Iowa hospital economic impact report.  In addition, Iowa hospital employees by themselves spend nearly $1.9 billion on retail sales and contribute more than $112 million in state sales tax revenue.

“Even in these difficult economic times, Iowa hospitals remain major employers and business partners throughout the state,” said Kirk Norris, IHA president/CEO.  “In addition to providing essential health care and community services, hospitals are at the foundation of Iowa’s economic infrastructure.  The state’s economic security is clearly linked to maintaining the high-quality health care system we now enjoy.”

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 72,220 people and create another 76,876 jobs outside the hospital sector.  As an income source, hospitals provide $3.3 billion in salaries and benefits and generate almost another $2.4 billion through other jobs that depend on hospitals.

In all, Iowa’s health care sector, which includes employed clinicians, long-term care services and assisted living centers, pharmacies and other medical and health services, directly and indirectly provides 366,072 Iowa jobs, or more than one-fifth of the state’s total employment.

“The economic impact of hospitals is sometimes overlooked because the focus is on the services and benefits hospitals provide,” said Rick Seidler, chair of the IHA Board and CEO of Allen Health System in Waterloo.  “But hospitals are large-scale employers throughout the state, and the jobs hospitals provide are important to retaining a young, highly educated and growing population in Iowa.”

In the U.S., hospitals employ nearly more than 5 million people, supporting more than 11 percent of U.S. jobs, according to the American Hospital Association.  Last year, U.S. hospitals spent about $304 billion on goods and services from other businesses, supporting nearly $2 trillion in economic activity.

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