Brunswick Campus Generates More than $310 Million to Golden Isles’ Economy

In 2004, Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick Campus generated more than $310,850,000 in revenue for the local economy according to a recently released report by the Georgia Hospital Association, the state’s largest hospital trade association. The report also found that, during the same time period, the Brunswick Campus provided uncompensated care at a cost of approximately $10,593,000, while sustaining more than 1,500 full and part-time jobs throughout Brunswick and the Golden Isles.

The report revealed that the Brunswick Campus had direct expenditures of more than $126 million in 2004. 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 more than $310,850,000. 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 the Southeast Georgia Health System Brunswick Campus has an enormous positive impact on our local economy which makes us very proud,” said Gary R. Colberg, CEO and president of Southeast Georgia Health System. “We thank the communities of Brunswick and Glynn County for their unwavering support through the years and will continue to work hard to ensure that the citizens of this community have access to quality health care services that are close to home and second to none in quality and affordability.” The GHA report found that while Georgia hospitals continue to guard the physical well-being of more than 9 million state residents, hospitals also play a huge role in bolstering Georgia’s financial health by pumping nearly $30 billion into the state’s economy in 2004. The report also found that, during the same time period, hospitals provided more than $959 million in uncompensated care while sustaining more than 265,000 full-time jobs in Georgia.

The report revealed that Georgia hospitals had direct expenditures of nearly $12 billion in 2004. 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 $29 billion. 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.

“While Georgia hospitals stand ready to serve all people 24 hours a day, seven days a week, what is often overlooked is the huge positive economic impact that a local, community hospital has in any given area,” said GHA President Joseph Parker. “Throughout Georgia communities, hospitals are among the largest employers and they are essential to attracting new business to those areas.” While the Brunswick Campus 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,” Colberg said. “We’ve 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 being paid less than what it actually costs to treat a patient.” According to Colberg, state lawmakers must work to protect the state’s health care system with the same fervor that they do other initiatives like education and public utilities.

“Our local health care system is indispensable,” Colberg said. “It is the primary guardian of health in our community and is the key building block for everything else in our community including education and economic vitality. It is our hope that 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 Brunswick and the Golden Isles.”