By Nikki Ciecierski
A recent report from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) has shed light on Mount Nittany Health’s significant contributions, both direct and indirect, to the region's economic well-being.
According to Kurt Kissinger, Chief Strategy and System Development Officer at Mount Nittany Health, the system’s role goes beyond providing healthcare services. "Mount Nittany Medical Center does more than treat illnesses and injuries,” he said. “Whether investing in staff, facilities or purchasing supplies, we are helping strengthen the region's economic development and growth. The report from HAP highlights the importance of our mission of 'Healthier people, stronger community.'"
Mount Nittany Health is the second-largest employer in Centre County, and it plays a crucial role in the local economy through job creation and paying competitive wages for its employees. “The hospital's direct impact extends to the purchase of goods and services, including essentials like linens, communication services, mechanical contractors and various other services necessary to support our daily operations,” Kissinger said. “These expenditures have an indirect impact too, as the wages paid to contractors and employees eventually circulate within the local economy, benefiting other local business sectors.”
Economic ripple effect
The economic ripple effect mentioned in the report is a key aspect of Mount Nittany Health’s economic contribution. Kissinger explained that this effect measures both direct and indirect impacts created by the hospital's activities.
In fiscal year 2022, the Mount Nittany Medical Center’s economic activity amounted to a staggering $361,251,010, with an economic ripple benefit of $209,995,212. These numbers underscore the essential role hospitals play in their regional and state economies.
Several industries, such as linen services, cleaning services, communication services, mechanical and electrical services and printing services, benefit significantly from the hospital's operations. “We use local vendors such as X-Pert Communications, Balfurd Linen, Centre Communications and Grove Printing,” Kissinger shared.
Future Outpatient Center at Toftrees
“Our major capital expenditures, particularly the construction of the outpatient center at Toftrees and the new patient tower at Mount Nittany Medical Center, provide substantial economic opportunities. Many contractors employ local subcontractors for these projects, providing additional economic benefit to the local economy,” he continued.
Wages are a significant portion of Mount Nittany’s economic contribution. “We paid around $130 million in wages to our 1,600 employees in fiscal year 2022 at the medical center,” Kissinger said. “The salaries and purchased services provided by the hospital generate induced impacts that reverberate throughout the region. The multiplier effect, calculated through economic analysis, further accentuates the hospital's contribution to the local economy.”
Balancing medical mission with economic impact
Balancing its medical mission with economic impact, Mount Nittany Health is working to ensure that healthcare is accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. “We absorb the costs of providing care to those who can't afford it and partner with organizations like Centre Volunteers in Medicine to bridge healthcare gaps for low-income and uninsured individuals,” Kissinger shared. “This commitment to the community translated into a total community benefit that exceeded $28 million in fiscal year 2022.”
“The hospital's investment in addressing chronic diseases and high-risk factors, like high blood pressure and diabetes, not only contributes to community health but also reduces absenteeism and healthcare costs for local businesses,” he continued. “By providing primary and secondary care to residents within the community, Mount Nittany Health minimizes the need for patients to seek healthcare services outside the region, further bolstering the local economy.”
Healthcare has an indirect impact on attracting new employers and residents to the region. “A strong community healthcare system with access to quality care and medical specialties is a critical factor for individuals considering relocation to the region for a job, including remote work, retirement or simply seeking a better quality of life,” Kissinger explained.
Continued investment in the community
Mount Nittany Health is continually seeking ways to support the economic development and growth of the Centre region. “We are excited to be opening our first Mount Nittany Health Express Care clinic at the Hills Plaza,” Kissinger shared. “This new point of access for same day or unscheduled care is projected to open in the spring of 2024.”
First Mount Nittany Health Express Care clinic at the Hills Plaza
“The hospital plans to continue positively impacting the local economy by investing in clinical care environments, expanding clinical programming and fostering partnerships with other organizations,” he added. “Our representation on the Economic Development Council of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County reinforces the system’s commitment to supporting the region's economic well-being and vitality.”
Mount Nittany Health’s contributions to the local economy highlight the essential role that healthcare institutions play in fostering both community health and economic prosperity. As a pillar of the community, the hospital's dedication to its medical mission and economic impact exemplifies the critical synergy between healthcare and economic development.
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