Southwest Health generates $72 million in local economic activity, according to a new study released by the UW Cooperative Extension Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics and the Wisconsin Hospital Association.
As the area’s second largest employer, Southwest Health accounts for a vast amount of regional economic activity. Not only does the organization provide health care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but also contributes to the area’s economy by employing people, purchasing goods and services, and contributing to the community.
The direct effect of Southwest Health is $46 million in economic activity as of the fiscal year ended in June 2015. That number includes $26 million in direct labor expenses paid to 447 employees. The report indicates Southwest Health is also responsible for an additional 221 jobs created through purchases and employee economic activity.
The hospital’s economic impact will expand because the organization has grown considerably since reporting those summer statistics. The number of employees alone has increased 11 percent from 447 to 504 as of December.
“In recent years, the people of our communities have come to know us for high quality health care that puts patients first,” said Southwest Health Chief Operating Officer Steve McCarthy. “Of course, we know our impact extends far beyond the walls of our three facilities, so it’s gratifying to put it in real numbers and understand the true value we provide the communities we serve.”
“Hospitals are major economic drivers in their communities and in our state,” said Prof. Steve Deller, a UW–Extension economist and coauthor of the report. “Wisconsin’s high quality health care, combined with health care providers who are well respected for their excellent patient care, are also attracting patients from other states to seek care here. In addition, hospitals and health systems are advancing medical science and technology, and as such, are providing therapies that may not be available in other states.”
In 2015, Southwest Health’s health care impact was greater than in any previous year in its history. The health network performed more than 125,000 outpatient procedures and treatments and provided 5,000 days of hospital care and nearly 27,000 days of skilled nursing care. Its clinic physicians and other providers experienced more than 45,000 patient visits, and specialists performed 1,100 surgeries.
Southwest Health not only boosts the physical and mental health of area communities but also benefits the region’s economic health.
“Hospitals in our state are job creators, and they are among the state’s largest employers,” said WHA president/CEO Eric Borgerding. “This study shows that health care is much more to Wisconsin than hospitals, doctors, and clinics. The ripple effect of the health care sector in employment numbers and on our state’s economy is enormous.”
“Wisconsin hospitals represent a significant and growing source of higher-paying employment opportunities,” said Deller. “A hospital also has positions that attract college-educated professionals, which helps avert a ‘brain drain’ and keeps graduates in our state.”
“It is our great privilege to serve the people of southwest Wisconsin, and we are all very proud to be making such a tremendously positive and growing impact,” said McCarthy.
The report also does not include the economic impact of the additional jobs when Southwest Health took over EMS services from the City of Platteville. Southwest Health will be building a new EMS garage on the Southwest Health campus and is working toward paramedic status.
Southwest Health has two campuses, the main hospital and Southwest Behavioral Services, in Platteville, and Epione Pavilion in Cuba City.