HAP Resource Center

White Paper: Beyond Patient Care: Economic Impact of Pennsylvania Hospitals 2018

HAP White Paper: Beyond Patient Care Economic Impact of Pennsylvania Hospitals 2018A White Paper Analysis of 2018 Data

By Sari Siegel, PhD and Ayse Yilmaz, MHA


Hospitals provide access to a broad scope of health care services, including 24-7 emergency care, highly specialized medical services and procedures, and medical education to train the next generation of clinicians. Given Pennsylvania’s dearth of public hospitals, members of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) also pledge to care for all, regardless of patients’ ability to pay. These factors, coupled with the state’s rising prevalence of chronic disease and growing senior population, suggest the demand for hospital care is on the rise.

Everyone recognizes that Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health systems provide critical infrastructure that supports public health. A more subtle contribution, however, is their pivotal role in bolstering the economic health of the communities they serve.

As this white paper illustrates, hospitals are economic anchors in their communities. They impact their local economies directly in many ways—e.g., maintaining and constructing new buildings, providing jobs, purchasing medical equipment, etc. Hospitals also indirectly affect the economy through business interactions (such as employment and cleaning services) and induce economic activity in other industries (like real estate). They also attract federal research dollars to the state, enabling Pennsylvania to develop innovations that improve care for all Americans.

The analysis examines the hospital industry’s economic impact on individual regions of the state and on Pennsylvania as a whole. It assesses the effects of hospital spending and employment, documenting that hospitals are among the largest employers across the commonwealth. In addition, it recognizes the role hospitals play in attracting federal and quasi-public research dollars and the broader benefits hospitals provide by training tomorrow’s clinicians and providing charity and unreimbursed care.

Findings from this paper should be used to inform policy discussions on topics that affect long-term hospital sustainability, like prior authorization reform, telemedicine service reimbursement, credentialing process streamlining, adequate Quality Care Assessment support, and bolstering Pennsylvania’s clinical training infrastructure, among others.




Topics: Health Care Reform, State Advocacy

Revision Date: 12/12/2019

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