Illinois hospitals have a powerful impact on the state's economy, generating $78.7 billion and employing more than 250,000 people.
That economic impact led the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) to call hospitals "a key cornerstone on the local and state economy," according to a new IHA report released Monday.
Hospitals are among the top three employers in almost half of Illinois counties, resulting in more than 422,500 direct and indirect jobs throughout the state, reported the Bensenville Press.
The IHA report's publication comes just as Illinois lawmakers discuss cutting Medicaid spending, which could directly affect hospitals' budgets. "Imposing Medicaid cuts and property taxes on hospitals would harm one of the few sectors that has been creating jobs and damage the health care system as well," said IHA CEO Maryjane Wurth. "In addition to providing vital medical and health care services to Illinoisans, Illinois hospitals are absolutely essential for the state's economy as a steady, recession-proof source of excellent, well-paying jobs, providing stability and even growth during difficult economic times."
IHA also highlighted how Illinois hospitals benefit their communities by providing charity care and uncompensated care; subsidizing money-losing services, such as emergency and trauma care; conducting medical research; educating and training physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals and underpaying for services to Medicare and Medicaid patients that they absorb, the Daily Herald Business Ledger reported.
Those community benefits result in more than $4.6 billion annually, including an increase in charity care of 124 percent since 2005.