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Hospital put $41 million in local economy in 2005

In 2005, McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson generated more than $41 million in revenue for the local economy, according to a recent report by the Georgia Hospital Association, the state's largest hospital trade association. The report also found that during the same time period, McDuffie Regional Medical Center provided approximately $2 million in uncompensated care, while sustaining more than 379 full-time jobs throughout McDuffie County and surrounding counties.

The report revealed that McDuffie Regional Medical Center had direct expenditures of more than $17 million in 2005. When combined with the an economic multiplier developed by the United States Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total economic impact of those expenditures was more $41 million. This output multiplier considers the "ripple" effect of direct hospital expenditures on other sectors of the economy, such as medical supplies, durable medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. Economic multipliers are used to model the resulting impact of a change in one industry on the "circular flow" of spending within an economy as a whole.

"This new report shows McDuffie Regional Medical Center has an enormous positive impact on our local economy which makes us very proud," said Doug Keir, CEO of MRMC. "We thank McDuffie County and surrounding counties for their unwavering support through the years and we will continue to work hard to ensure that the citizens of this community have access to health care services that are second to none in quality and affordability."

While McDuffie Regional Medical Center remains a major component of the area's economic engine, the hospital's leadership, like the rest of the Georgia hospital community, is concerned about a wide array of economic challenges that have made it increasingly difficult to meet the community's health care needs including continued cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments and a fast-growing uninsured population. Presently, more than a third of all hospitals in Georgia are operating with negative margins.

"We are extremely concerned with the current operating environment for hospitals," Mr. Keir said. "We have made a commitment to every citizen of this community to be on call for them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But our ability to do so is being compromised when, in many cases, we are being paid less than what it actually costs to treat a patient."

According to Mr. Keir, state lawmakers must work to protect the state's health care system with the same fervor that they do other initiatives like education and public utilities.

"Our local health care system is indispensable," Mr. Keir said. "It is the primary guardian of health in our community and is the key building block for everything else in our community including education and economic vitality. It is our hope that our elected lawmakers will do what is necessary to protect our local health care system and preserve access to health care for every resident in McDuffie County and our surrounding counties."

Web posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008

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