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Hospital systems are significant contributors to New Hampshire's economy

February 10, 2010

CONCORD, NH: Hospitals in New Hampshire have a significant impact on the state's economy, generating billions of dollars annually in economic activity and directly employing more than 37,500 people in communities throughout the state. That's according to a new study, The Economic Impact of Hospital Systems in New Hampshire, released by the New Hampshire Hospital Association and the Foundation for Healthy Communities. The report quantifies the substantial economic impact of New Hampshire's 26 hospital systems.

Key findings of the study include:

Health care accounts for almost 13% of New Hampshire's private-sector employment.
• New Hampshire's hospitals systems employees earn about $2.3 billion a year in wages, salaries and benefits.
• More than 28,000 New Hampshire citizens work in secondary jobs that are related to their community hospitals, earning $1.3 billion a year.
• The total employment impact of hospital systems in New Hampshire is 65,651 direct and secondary jobs, earning $3.7 billion.

"This study shows in real numbers that hospitals are an important economic driver in our communities," said NHHA President Steve Ahnen. "As New Hampshire's leaders continue to consider the state's economic priorities and look for ways to create more jobs in our state, they should keep in mind the importance of hospitals and health care to the state economy."

Secondary economic impacts are created from jobs in other businesses and industries which support hospitals systems. Examples of those are the oil companies which sell fuel to hospitals, landscapers who tend hospital grounds and provide snow plow services, and companies which provide computer maintenance and services. "This report shows that hospital systems are much more to New Hampshire than emergency rooms, clinics and doctors," said Bruce King, chairman of the NHHA board of trustees and CEO of New London Hospital.

Hospital systems are defined as the hospital itself, along with the variety of health care services available from that hospital, such as primary care and specialty physician practices, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing homes, or health clinics.

While the estimates of economic impact are substantial, they are only a partial accounting of the benefits to New Hampshire. According to the study, a strong health care network, in which hospitals play a key role, also adds to the attractiveness of a community as a place to live, locate a business or retire. As "baby boomers" age, more families will base their decision on where to retire on the availability of quality health care. New Hampshire consistently is number one in the country among all other states in health care quality.

In rural communities, attracting and keeping highly-skilled professionals can be a challenge. Hospitals in rural areas are a source of high-tech jobs for those who otherwise might leave small communities.

"Hospitals provide an anchor for other health care jobs, such as physicians and pharmacists which, in the absence of the hospital, might not be available," said King.

A hospital in any community provides services that contribute to a high quality of life and a productive workforce. Hospitals help ensure the future of communities large and small.

"The ripple effect of the health care sector throughout New Hampshire's economy is substantial," said Jim Roche, president of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire. "Hospitals generate significant employment, help to expand and attract business, and help keep young people and families in our state."

The contents of this economic impact report can be relevant in public policy discussions regarding access to care, community benefits and health care cost containment. Supportive state and federal policies will help hospitals continue to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

"Hospitals are the cornerstones of our communities, not only tied to the health of the people who live there, but also to the health of the economy," said Ahnen.

The Economic Impact of Hospital Systems in New Hampshire presents an analysis of data compiled by the Minnesota IMPLAN® Group, Inc. Calculations are based on data and information from the New Hampshire Hospital Association, New Hampshire Employment Security, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor, and the U.S. Census Bureau. The full report is available online at www.nhha.org and www.healthynh.com.

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