Current Report Articles
President's Perspective – New County Economic Impact Reports Released

economic impact news (April 30, 2021) – Kansas Hospital Association members know a good local health care system is part of the prescription for maintaining a healthy economy. However, we often forget to share this message with our local communities. KHA is pleased to release new county-level analysis of the economic contributions to the local health care sector on the economies of each of the state's 105 counties.

These new county economic impact reports are available online. The Office of Local Government, K-State Research and Extension, completed these reports and accompanying materials for each county.

The purpose of the report is to provide hospitals with data and information to be used to communicate to community leaders, policymakers, and concerned citizens on the relative importance of health care to the local economy. The Kansas Hospital Association shares the findings of these reports with legislators and the media.

According to Dr. John Leatherman, K-State agricultural economist and lead author of the report, access to affordable quality local health care services is essential to attracting and retaining local businesses and retirees. Further, health care has been among the fastest-growing economic sectors for the past 30 years. Given demographic trends, prospects for continued growth are good, and rural communities will want to be positioned to capture some of that growth, he said.

"Research has shown time and again that local health care and education are two enormously important factors for local economic development," Leatherman said, "and both can be positively or negatively influenced by local action or inaction." He said the local health care system has sometimes been the "tie-breaker" in industry location decisions, and retirees view quality local health care as a "must-have" local service.

Hospitals and health services are an economic anchor in Kansas. This report documents the importance of the health care sector to the Kansas economy. While the estimates of economic impact are substantial, they are only a partial accounting of the benefits health care in general, and community hospitals in particular, provide to the state. Kansas community hospitals help stabilize the population base, invigorate their communities and contribute significantly to the quality of life.

In addition to these county reports, KHA produces a statewide report annually. A brochure, PowerPoint and media release from January of this year are available on the KHA website. KHA also worked with Leatherman to produce a podcast highlighting the economic impact of health care to the Kansas economy.

If you would like assistance in presenting this information to a board or community group or would like a template media release with your county data, or any additional materials, please email csamuelson@kha-net.org.
--Chad Austin