According to a recent report by the Georgia Hospital Association, the state’s largest hospital trade association, in 2011 WellStar Health System’s five hospitals, WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Kennestone, Paulding and Windy Hill, generated more than $2.2 billion in revenue for the local and state economy.
The report also found that, during the same time period, WellStar provided approximately $114,677,904 in uncompensated care. This is in addition to the unreimbursed cost of care provided by WellStar to Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries of $80 million, an 18 percent increase from the previous year.
WellStar’s commitment to its community has occurred, while sustaining more than 15,800 full-time jobs throughout northwest metro-Atlanta. These jobs are non-WellStar employees, such as vendors and contractors, and are in addition to the more than 12,000 WellStar team members.
The report states that WellStar hospitals had direct expenditures of more than $980,000,000 in 2011. When combined with the economic multiplier developed by the United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total economic impact of those expenditures was more than $2.2 billion.
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.
“WellStar is extremely proud to contribute to the communities we serve, particularly in this challenging economic climate,” said Jim Budzinski, WellStar’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “This commitment is consistent with our mission and vision to deliver world class healthcare that improves the health and well-being of all those we serve. Not only are we able to provide uncompensated care, we also invest in new facilities such as the new WellStar Kennestone Tower and the Epic electronic medical record system, which are an investment of $250 million.”
While WellStar remains a major component of the area’s economic engine, the System’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 healthcare 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.
About WellStar Health System: Recognized as the fifth most integrated healthcare delivery system in the country, WellStar Health System is the one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in Georgia and serves a population of nearly 1.4 million residents in five counties.
The vision of WellStar is to deliver world-class healthcare. A national leader in the transformation of healthcare delivery, WellStar launched two initiatives in late 2012 – the Center for Health Transformation and the Georgia Health Collaborative – that will have far reaching effects on healthcare both locally and nationally.
WellStar includes WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital) and WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals; the WellStar Medical Group; Urgent Care Centers; Acworth Health Park; Health Place; Homecare; Hospice; Atherton Place; Paulding Nursing Center; and the WellStar Foundation. For more information, call 770-956-STAR or visit wellstar.org.