Report: Pennsylvania Hospitals Generate $155 Billion Economic Benefit
Analysis underscores importance of supporting hospitals amid pandemic-related strain
Harrisburg, PA (October 7, 2021) – Pennsylvania hospitals remained among the top drivers of local and statewide economies during the 2020 fiscal year (FY) even as their financial challenges intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a recent analysis of FY 2020 data by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), 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, underscoring the need for additional investments and public policy measures to ensure that hospitals can continue to provide the highest level of care and serve as economic engines for the state and their communities. The state’s hospitals lost more than $6.5 billion in revenue combined due to the suspension of many scheduled services and a decrease in other care not related to COVID-19.
“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.”
Specifically, the report cites hospitals’ need for policies that ensure sustainable payments for the care they provide as well as those that reduce administrative red tape to improve patient care.
HAP’s report analyzed a variety of federal and state data for FY 2020, which covered October 2019 through September 2020. 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.
About HAP: HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 240 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, subacute care, long-term care, home health, and hospice providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve. Additional information about HAP is available online at www.haponline.org.
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