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Report Shows Pennsylvania Hospitals Drive State, Local Economies

Hospitals support $155 billion economic impact, one in nine Pennsylvania jobs

October 07, 2021

Pennsylvania hospitals remained among the top drivers of local and statewide economies during the 2020 fiscal year (FY) even as financial challenges facing the health care community intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s according to a new study by HAP’s Center for Health Policy Research, Beyond Patient Care: Economic Impact of Pennsylvania Hospitals. During FY 2020, Pennsylvania hospitals fueled $155 billion in economic activity, about 20 percent of the commonwealth’s total gross domestic product. The hospital community also supported more than 615,000 jobs, one in nine statewide, and generated more than $38 billion in wages, salaries, and benefits. In addition, the state’s hospitals attracted highly competitive federal research dollars to the Keystone State, played a crucial role in training tomorrow’s healers, and provided extensive charity and unreimbursed care to their communities.

At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the financial strain on Pennsylvania hospitals, contributing to more than $6.5 billion in lost revenue due to the suspension of many scheduled services and a decrease in other care not related to COVID-19. The report calls for public policy measures that ensure sustainable payments for the care hospitals provide and that reduce administrative red tape to improve patient care.

“The past year reinforced that hospitals are vital to all Pennsylvanians,” said Andy Carter, HAP president and CEO. “In addition to providing excellent care to all who need it—regardless of health condition or ability to pay—Pennsylvania hospitals are the bedrock of their communities’ and our state’s economies. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the financial strain on hospitals and it’s not over yet. It’s critical that Pennsylvania hospitals have the financial resources and regulatory flexibility they need to continue to serve their communities.”

Among the report’s key findings are:

  • Pennsylvania hospitals were responsible for close to $70 billion in direct spending—including nearly $20 billion in wages—and, as a result of that economic activity, generated a ripple effect of more than $85 billion in spending, including more than $18 billion in wages
  • Pennsylvania hospitals directly employed more than 270,000 workers and indirectly supported close to 345,000 jobs
  • 60 of Pennsylvania’s counties 67 counties have at least one hospital among their top 10 employers. In 19 counties, a hospital is the top employer
  • Hospitals and universities with hospital-affiliated medical schools secured nearly $2 billion in highly competitive health research awards, more than 80 percent of the total health research funding federal agencies awarded to Pennsylvania organizations
  • Pennsylvania general acute care hospitals reported $809 million in foregone revenue due to uncompensated care, including both charity care and instances of bad debt

See the full report—including a searchable data visualization, research brief, and region-specific data—at HAP's website.




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