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Report lists hospital's local economic impact at $42 milion in 2006

ATLANTA - In 2006, McDuffie Regional Medical Center in McDuffie County generated more than $42 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 $2.3 million in uncompensated care while sustaining more than 363 full-time jobs throughout McDuffie County and the rest of the state.

The report revealed that McDuffie Regional Medical Center had direct expenditures of more than $17 million in 2006. 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 $42 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 that, even in these difficult economic times, McDuffie Regional Medical Center has an enormous positive impact on our local economy," said Douglas Keir, CEO of McDuffie Regional Medical Center. "We thank the McDuffie County and surrounding counties for their unwavering support of their local hospital and 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're extremely concerned with the current operating environment for hospitals," said Mr. Keir. "We've 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're seeing an increasing number of uninsured patients while the payers are paying us far less than what it actually costs to treat Medicare and Medicaid patients."

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," said Mr. Keir. "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, even in these challenging economic times, 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 of McDuffie County and the surrounding counties we serve."

Web posted on Thursday, March 05, 2009

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