The report revealed that Cartersville Medical Center had direct expenditures of more than $86 million in 2009. When combined with the an economic multiplier developed by the United States Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total economic impact of those expenditures was more than $213 million. 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.
"This new report shows that, even in these difficult economic times, Cartersville Medical Center has an enormous positive impact on our local economy," said Keith Sandlin, CEO of Cartersville Medical Center. "We thank our community's unwavering support of their local hospital and will continue to work hard to ensure that the citizens of this community have access to health care services that are second to none in quality and affordability."
While Cartersville Medical Center remains a major component of the area's economic engine, the hospital's leadership, like the rest of the Georgia hospital community, is concerned about a wide array of economic challenges that have made it increasingly difficult to meet the community's health care needs including continued cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments and a fast-growing uninsured population. Presently, more than a third of all hospitals in Georgia are operating with negative margins.
"We're extremely concerned with the current operating environment for hospitals," Sandlin said. "Cartersville Medical Center and our local physicians have made a commitment to every citizen of this community to be on call for them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But our ability to do so is being compromised when, in many cases, we're seeing an increasing number of uninsured patients while the state is paying us far less than what it actually costs to treat Medicaid patients.
"Our local healthcare system is indispensable. It is the primary guardian of health in our community. It is our hope that, even in these challenging economic times, our elected lawmakers will do what is necessary to protect our local health care system and preserve access to health care for every resident of our service area."