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Report: PA Hospitals Critical to State's Communities, Economy
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Posted: 2013-06-07

Hospitals exceed $100 billion impact, account for nearly 600,000 jobs in the state; HAP warns that PA hospitals remain at risk

The Conemaugh Health System annually contributes more than $407 million dollars to the region’s economy, according to a new report by The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP). The hospitals of the Conemaugh Health System also support more than 3,550 full time jobs in the region.

As a non-profit organization, the Conemaugh Health System which includes three hospitals, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Conemaugh Meyersdale Medical Center and Conemaugh Miners Medical Center, also provided more than 29 million dollars in charitable benefits to the community.

At the Heart of Every Community: The Community and Economic Impact of Pennsylvania’s Hospitals, shows both the human and fiscal impact of Pennsylvania’s hospitals—both non-profit and investor-owned—on communities across the state, as well as on the state as a whole.

“We are proud of the care we provide to patients but also of our contribution to the health of the community,” says Dr. David Carlson, Chief Medical Officer of the Conemaugh Health System. "Overall, hospitals in Pennsylvania create about one in ten jobs with a total economic impact of $98 billion.”

The report, HAP’s first in two years and the first to incorporate newly available IRS Schedule H data, shows that in 2011 Pennsylvania’s non-profit hospitals provided more than $5 billion in charitable community benefits, and all hospitals—nonprofit and investor-owned combined—contributed nearly $98 billion to local and state economies.

“Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health systems are at the heart of every community,” said HAP President and CEO Andy Carter. “They have a positive and powerful impact on patients, families, and communities.”

In 2011, Pennsylvania’s hospitals cared for patients during 1.6 million hospital admissions; 39 million visits in outpatient settings; 6 million emergency department visits; and delivered more than 124,000 babies.

Conemaugh Health System hospitals had 26,587 admissions, 514,393 outpatient visits, and 83,261 emergency department visits. In addition, Conemaugh Memorial had 1,350 deliveries. 

The $5.1 billion in charitable community benefits included more than $1 billion in charity care and bad debt; nearly $2 billion to subsidize care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries; nearly $250 million in subsidized health services; $92 million in community health improvement services and programs in response to the health needs of their communities; more than $627 million in hospital-based education programs to train highly skilled health care professionals; nearly $975 million in research to cure illnesses and advance medical treatments and services; and more than $91 million in contributions and community-building activities.

“Pennsylvania’s hospitals provide quality care and a safe haven for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of ability to pay,” HAP’s Carter said. “These charitable benefits are essential to protecting access to health care and preserving Pennsylvanians’ critical health care safety net.”

Carter warned, however, that the benefits documented in this report should not be taken for granted.“Over the past several years, Pennsylvania’s hospitals have faced significant fiscal challenges,” Carter said. “The Affordable Care Act includes $8.1 billion in cuts to Pennsylvania hospitals’ Medicare and Medicaid payments over ten years. In addition, Pennsylvania’s hospitals are absorbing an additional $1.4 billion in Medicare cuts as a result of the “sequestration” cuts from Washington." And this year, Pennsylvania’s non-profit hospitals face an added threat to their charitable missions in the form of challenges to their tax-exempt status. 

“It is imperative that government leaders, policymakers, and the public recognize and protect one of our state’s most vital community resources—Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health systems." Carter added that Pennsylvania’s hospitals remain hopeful that Governor Corbett and the General Assembly will reach agreement on expanding the Medicaid program as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act.

“Expansion of Medicaid will support more than 35,000 jobs,” Carter said. “Most importantly, it will extend needed health care coverage to an additional 350,000 low-income, non-elderly Pennsylvanians.”

Under Medicaid expansion, the state’s uninsured rate would drop from its current 12.7% to 4.8% in 2016 (the first year of full penalties for non-compliance with the ACA insurance mandate).

About Conemaugh Health System
Serving over a half-million patients each year through the Conemaugh Physician Group and Medical Staff, a network of hospitals, specialty clinics and patient focused programs; Conemaugh Health System (CHS) is the largest healthcare provider in West Central Pennsylvania with 4,500+ employees and 350 physicians. Conemaugh Health System (CHS) has been named an IMS Top 100 Integrated HealthCare Network for 2012 and repeatedly earns state and national recognition for exceptional clinical outcomes.

About The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP)
HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 240 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, subacute care, long-term care, home health, and hospice providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve. Additional information about HAP is available online at www.haponline.org.

For More Information, Please Contact:
Amy Bradley, Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (814) 534-3121
Email: abradle@conemaugh.org