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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital Boosts Regions Economy By $91 Million


Charles Cole Contributes $91 million to Region’s Economy

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital contributes nearly $91 million annually to the region’s economy, according to a report released by The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) entitled Pennsylvania Hospitals Strengthen Pennsylvania’s Economy. In doing so, CCMH directly and indirectly supports more than 875 jobs in the northcentral region of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Hospitals Strengthen Pennsylvania’s Economy shows that Pennsylvania hospitals provided more than 596,000 hospital and hospital service-related jobs to the commonwealth’s workforce and $90 billion to the state’s economy in 2008—representing a nearly $6 billion increase over 2007.

“Charles Cole Memorial Hospital has been and will continue to be an economic and social anchor providing healing, health, and hope in our community,” said Patrice Levavasseur, executive director, patient and community relations. “In addition to the economic impact of our hospital in the community, we also provide safe, quality care to the communities we serve.”

But Ed Pitchford, president and chief executive officer, warned that the recession is taking its toll on Charles Cole and many hospitals throughout the state, threatening their financial stability, and putting communities at risk by potentially reducing access to healthcare and associated job losses.

Pennsylvania’s hospitals annually care for 1.7 million inpatients and 36 million outpatients, and they evaluate 5.8 million injured and ill people in their emergency departments. In 55 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, hospitals are among the top five employers including Potter County.

“At a time when statewide unemployment is hovering near the highest level in 25 years, and all signs point to a continued period of unemployment, hospitals continue to be the biggest employers in many of their communities, especially rural communities,” Pitchford said.

“Investments in Pennsylvania’s hospitals mean investments in our patients, our workforce, and our economy,” Carolyn F. Scanlan, president and chief executive officer, HAP. “As lawmakers craft state and federal budgets, they need to ensure adequate payments for hospitals to remain fiscally healthy and to maintain their status as national leaders in health care quality.”

Scanlan cautioned that if state and federal budget proposals push for reductions in hospital payments, they will be jeopardizing the very jobs that are keeping many local economies together. Recent Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry statistics show that while non-farm employment in Pennsylvania decreased by 2.59 percent between December 2008 and December 2009, direct hospital employment remained fairly steady, with only a slight decline of 0.15 percent during the same period.

Pitchford added that it is very common to read that many hospitals are trimming operations, withholding pay raises and not filling vacancies as ways to make through the recession.

In fact, a recent report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), showed the economy’s impact on the state’s hospitals. For CCMH, it reported high Medicare, Medical Assistance, and uncompensated care numbers and negative operating revenue.

Pennsylvania Hospitals Strengthen Pennsylvania’s Economy is available online at haponline.org. The report updates HAP studies released in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2009, and includes data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, and HAP member hospitals and health systems.

HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 250 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, subacute care, long-term care, home health, and hospice providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve. Pitchford is serving a three year term as a member of the HAP board of directors.

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital is a full service, comprehensive health system based in Coudersport with service throughout north central Pennsylvania. In addition to the hospital’s main campus in Coudersport, CCMH provides primary health care, including wellness and physical therapy, to surrounding communities in four counties at rural health centers in Galeton, Ulysses, Westfield, Shinglehouse, Port Allegany, Eldred, Smethport, and Emporium. For additional information on the hospital’s services and medical providers, visit www.charlescolehospital.com.

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