The financial impact of health care industry employment in 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, was $18.3 billion, of which hospital employment was $6 billion.
Health care employees also have household members who are employed in the community that create a ripple effect, which resulted in $28 billion in salaries and pay that year. This is the impact of the more than 586,000 health care jobs, of which 180,532 are hospital-based.
“Regardless of size or location, all 172 Tennessee hospitals share a common mission to provide quality health care to the communities they serve,” said Marvin Eichorn, THA board chair and Ballad Health’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Beyond this role to serve patients, hospitals also play a critical role in local economies.”
Hospitals are a reliable source of employment, many of which offer a sustainable living wage and employee benefits. This impact is particularly significant in rural communities, where hospitals are frequently the largest employer and a major driver of economic development. With nine rural hospital closures in the state since 2012, and other facilities facing challenging futures, the importance of rural hospitals cannot be understated, Eichorn said.
Beyond boosting the economy, the work of hospitals to care for communities is vital to the well-being of Tennesseans, according to Eichorn. In 2015, the state’s hospitals treated 3.7 million people in emergency departments and provided more than 8 million outpatient visits and roughly 852,000 inpatient stays.
“In Wilson County, residents are served by a facility that cares for a wide array of health care needs, while also providing important economic support for the area,” said Craig Becker, THA president and CEO. “In 2015 alone, local hospitals cared for 80,624 patients. Those facilities provided 585 jobs, resulting in a total economic impact of more than $38 million for the county.”
The Tennessee Hospital Association was founded in 1938 and serves as an advocate for hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations across the state. The initiatives of THA support the efforts of Tennessee’s hospitals to ensure high-quality care for the patients and communities they serve.