Hospitals offer jobs, economic growth during hard times

Hospitals do more than provide medical care in New Jersey; they serve as a reliable source of jobs, income taxes, and spending in the midst of an economic slump.

The Garden State had $18.6 billion in economic activity and about 140,000 jobs in 2010 from hospitals alone, according to a new report from the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA).

Despite the weakened economy, hospitals boosted their economic contributions by almost $40 million from 2009, the NJHA said in a press release yesterday.

"New Jersey's healthcare community is a source for hope, not just for the quality care we provide to people in their times of need, but because we are one of the only economic engines generating new jobs," NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan said in a statement.

And as almost all nonprofit institutions, the hospitals give back any excess revenue to the state by purchasing new medical technology, expanding hospital services, and maintaining and improving infrastructure.

In addition to providing jobs and economic growth, the hospitals also serve as the healthcare safety net for New Jersey's 1.3 million uninsured residents, providing more than $1.3 billion in charity care a year.

The economic and community benefits delivered in New Jersey stand as a bright spot for not-for-profit hospitals as they continue to draw criticism over their charity care and tax exemptions.

For more:
- here's the report by the New Jersey Hospital Association (.pdf)
- read the NJHA press release
- read The Record article