Baton Rouge – When the St. Charles Parish Hospital sought financing for a recent expansion project, the hospital needed to demonstrate its economic impact on its local community. The hospital turned to the Department of Health for help, and the result was an economic impact study that helped the hospital secure $18.5 million.
Using the economic impact assessment software system IMPLAN, DHH’s Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health (the Bureau) can assist communities such as St. Charles Parish and providers such as St. Charles Parish Hospital. IMPLAN is a free service that provides economic analysis and information that is necessary for feasibility studies, planning physical and service expansions, preparing grant proposals and in physician recruitment and retention efforts.
Dr. Fred Cerise, secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, said IMPLAN allows LDH planners to assess the economic impact of the health care industry and health care facilities in a given area.
“We have known that health care is an important component of a community’s economy, but this tool lets us accurately measure the impact,” he explained. “The result is that we can now better target resources to communities where we can make the most difference.”
This economic planning tool can be customized for any parish, region or state. Along with economic impact, an IMPLAN report contains numerous demographics and statistics relating to population, age, race, employment and income levels.
Dr. Cerise joined Fred Martinez, CEO of the St. Charles Parish Hospital, and Mark Keiser, director of the St. Charles Community Health Center, at a news conference Friday to announce the availability of DHH’s IMPLAN studies.
St. Charles Parish was the first parish-wide study completed by the DHH’s Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health using IMPLAN. The report documented the financial effects the hospital’s expansion would have on the parish economy. The study evaluated the 914 health care jobs the parish had in 1998 that related to more than $21 million in payroll. These jobs and payroll dollars then were analyzed with the IMPLAN software, which indicated the health care sector was ultimately responsible for approximately 262 additional jobs and $5.4 million in payroll.
Furthermore, it was revealed that the health care sector contributed more than $5 million to the parish in the form of in retail sales.
Martinez said his hospitals’ use of IMPLAN resulted in the St. Charles Parish Police Jury authorizing a bond election.
“The Police Jury reviewed the report and concluded our expansion efforts made sense from an economic standpoint,” he said. “The result was the bond issue passed, and $18.5 million was approved for the hospital’s expansion project.”
The expansion at St. Charles Parish Hospital includes equipment upgrades for the imaging, laboratory, respiratory and intensive care units. In addition, improvements to cardiac care, vascular cancer treatment services and dialysis services are planned.
Completed IMPLAN studies are available for review and download from the Bureau’s Programs and Services Web page at www.dhh.state.la.us/pcrh. To date, several communities and organizations have used these studies to illustrate the importance of the health care sector in grants, public forums, business decisions and elections.
IMPLAN, a PC based economic impact assessment modeling system, was developed by the University of Minnesota and is now part of the Minnesota IMPLAN Group. Historically, the forestry, livestock and petroleum industries have used IMPLAN extensively. Oklahoma State University’s Rural Health Works program was the first to develop a template to allow states to use the software to estimate the economic support hospitals and the overall health care sectors provide to their respective communities. Oklahoma State University’s Rural Health Works program is a partnership of the Office of Rural Health Policy, Department of Health and Human Services, USDA Cooperative Extension Program and Rural Policy Research Institute.