In 2017, Union General Health System (Union General Hospital, Chatuge Regional Hospital, Union County Nursing Home, Chatuge Regional Nursing Home as well as 19 other affiliated facilities) in the North Georgia region generated $256,286,994 in revenue for the local and state economy, according to a recently released report by the Georgia Hospital Association, the state’s largest hospital trade association. Union General Health System had direct expenditures of more than $109,585,237 in 2017. The total economic impact of those expenditures was $256,286,994 when combined with an economic multiplier developed by the United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. 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.
During the same time period, Union General Heatlh System provided approximately $4,301,105 in uncompensated care while sustaining more than 1,103 full-time jobs throughout the North Georgia region. When a US Department of Commerce multiplier is applied to the jobs number, it is revealed that an additional 2,726 jobs are supported across the state due to the economic activity of Union General Health System. The health system spent $61,257,769 in salaries and benefits, resulting in total household earnings in our region of $120,579,793.
“Union General Health System’s mission is not only to provide quality health care but also to serve as an economic engine for our local communities,” Kevin Bierschenk, CEO. “We are proud to partner with our North Georgia region to offer quality health care services close to home. As a leading employer in the region, we are dedicated to improving lives.”
Union General Health System is a major component of the area’s economic strength; however, the health system’s leadership, like the rest of the Georgia hospital community, is concerned about economic challenges that affect the ability to deliver timely and efficient care. A fast-growing uninsured population and inadequate payments from government insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid have made it increasingly difficult to meet the community’s health care needs. In 2017, 44 percent of all hospitals in Georgia operated with negative total margins.
“With a combined total of 23 affiliated facilities, Union General Health System is a leader in healthcare for the North Georgia area. Our two hospitals and nursing homes are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are dedicated to ensuring our residents receive state-of-the-art health care services,” Kevin Bierschenk, CEO said. “We are constantly challenged with making sure each patient receives quality care regardless of ability to pay. This environment often puts financial stress on our state’s hospitals.”
According to Kevin Bierschenk, CEO, every community needs nearby access to a strong, vibrant health care system that will not only meet the health care needs of its residents but also attract other industries and businesses to the area.
“Preserving access to health care is extremely important and we are the primary guardian of health in our local communities,” said Kevin Bierschenk, CEO. “A healthy community depends on the strength of its hospitals and healthcare facilities, both financially and in treating patients.”