The economic impact of hospitals in Iowa – National Hospital Week is May 12-18

National Hospital Week, observed May 12-18, recognizes the 5,000 hospital, health systems and networks in the United States, as well as the more than 6 million people who provide care to individuals in communities. 

Hospitals play a huge role in the economic health of the state. According to the Iowa Hospital Association, in Iowa alone, there are 123 hospitals in 90 counties, paying $5.7 billion in wages and benefits to the 77,000 people employed in them. Another 145,000 additional jobs are supported by Iowa hospitals. One in 21 nonfarm-employed Iowans work for hospitals.

Iowa hospitals contribute $21.5 billion to Iowa’s economy which is 12 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. Additionally, $1 billion is provided annually in community benefits around the state, with $286 million provided in charity care last year.

In total, Iowa hospitals served 16.6 million outpatient visits last year and had 298,000 hospital admissions. A total of 1.3 million people were treated in emergency departments and 36,000 babies were born last year in Iowa hospitals.

Despite these numbers, Iowa’s hospitals continue to face significant financial and workforce challenges. Currently, over 10,000 job openings exist across the state, with 30 percent of them in nursing, lab, x-ray and ultrasonography. In the last four years, supply costs have increased by 19 percent, contracted labor by 27 percent, pharmaceuticals by 60 percent, payroll and benefits by 27 percent, and overall expenses by 28 percent. 

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