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Oregon's Community Hospitals' Economic Impact Tops $20 Billion

Oregon’s Community Hospitals’ Economic Impact Tops $20 Billion
Lake Oswego, Ore. – May 14, 2019 – Oregon’s 62 community hospitals accounted for $20.9 billion in economic output in 2017, according to a new study prepared for the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) by ECONorthwest.
“Today’s report shows that the state’s hospitals make vital contributions not just to the personal and community health of Oregonians, but to the economic health of the communities they serve,” said Andy Van Pelt, OAHHS executive vice president. “From the ranches of Harney County to the urban centers of the metro Portland area, hospitals bring jobs and economic vitality to Oregon.”
As the report shows, hospitals are major employers in our state and in many cases a community’s largest employer. They support 137,839 direct and secondary jobs, meaning that more than one in 20 Oregon jobs is connected to hospitals and health systems. In addition to the total economic impact, hospitals contributed more than $12 billion to the Gross State Product (GSP).
“I just think you can’t underscore enough the important role of hospitals in the regional economies,” said John Tapogna, president of ECONorthwest, the economics research firm that produced the report. “They provide thousands of the types of middle-wage jobs that are disappearing in other industries.”
To read the full report, click here.
Tapogna also said the state’s early embrace of the Medicaid expansion made possible by the Affordable Care Act has produced significant economic benefits. One in four Oregonians is now covered by the Oregon Health Plan. The care they receive, often at a community hospital, brings revenue to the region where it’s delivered. “Those are dollars that are coming into Oregon from outside the state,” said Tapogna. “That Oregon was early in that process really helped push our numbers.”
The report found that rural hospitals play an outsized role in the economic health of their regions. Hospitals are among the steadiest sources of jobs, and their totals often comprise a higher percentage of total employment than in urban areas. 
Oregon’s economy has been healthy of late with low unemployment, and the health care sector has performed even better as a job creator. From 2015 to 2017, Oregon’s health care system experienced significantly higher job growth compared to other private sectors, with a net increase of 10% over that time (or a 52% employment increase since 2001).
Those well-paying hospital jobs are a major source of tax revenue for the state, generating almost $700 million in state and local taxes directly or indirectly.
The ECONorthwest study was commissioned by OAHHS and utilizes state-specific data from the American Hospital Association.