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President's Perspective – Keeping Communities Healthy and Economically Strong

economic impact news (Feb. 23, 2024) – The health care sector in Kansas provides substantial contributions to the state's economy. Hospitals keep communities healthy, strong and vibrant; however, they also strengthen the infrastructure of local communities. Kansas hospitals contribute to the financial health of our state by serving as economic anchors for the communities they serve.

As with all industries, hospitals generate direct jobs and employee income; however, they also support additional businesses across many industries through supply chain linkages and employee spending on household goods and services. A vigorous health care system is essential not only for the health and welfare of community residents but also to enhance economic opportunity.

Health-related sectors are some of the fastest growing in the economy. Given demographic trends, this growth is likely to continue. Furthermore, evidence shows quality health care improves business productivity, aids in the recruitment and retention of businesses and attracts and retains retirees.

The Kansas Hospital Association's new report on The Importance of the Health Care Sector to the Kansas Economy was performed by the Institute for Policy and Social Research at the University of Kansas. The study found the Kansas health care sector contributes more than 300,000 jobs and nearly $21 billion in labor income to the Kansas economy, including direct effects and multiplier effects. This labor income, when spent, generates more than $700 million in sales tax revenue.

The study found hospitals alone employ nearly 73,000 Kansans and direct labor income of more than $6 billion. The hospital sector has large multiplier effects. Every 100 hospital jobs support an additional 72 jobs in non-health care sectors. Every $1,000 in current hospital wages and salaries sustains an additional $458 in income for employees of grocery stores, restaurants, gas and electric utilities and other industries used by hospitals and their employees.

As we continue to look for opportunities to enhance our state's economy, a strong health care system, anchored by well-supported community hospitals, is essential. This report will be shared with our elected officials and the public in the coming weeks. We encourage you to use this information as you discuss the economic impact of hospitals with your staff, boards and communities. County-specific reports were published in October 2023 and are available online. Additional resources, including a brochure, template PowerPoint presentation and media advisory, also are available online.
--Chad Austin