January 11, 2013

While most people think of CAMC as a leader in quality care, technology and as a referral center for many specialties, many may not think of CAMC as a powerful force in the region's economy. Yet it is.

According to a recent study by the National Center for Rural Health, "the role hospitals and hospital systems play as major contributors to the economy is often overlooked... the economic contributions result in a significant number of jobs and wages, salaries, and benefits created in other businesses and industries."

According to a National Center for Rural Health study conducted and presented by Dr. Gerald A. Doeksen, regents professor and director at Oklahoma State University, jobs and payroll in the health care industry in West Virginia continue to grow and now account for roughly 20 percent of employment and payroll in the state.

The study looked specifically at Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Clay and Lincoln counties. In 2011, CAMC Health System accounted for about 11,000 jobs in our area.

"CAMC had 6,126 full- and part-time employees in fiscal year 2011. The area hospital employment multiplier was 1.75; this means that for every job in the hospital sector, another 0.75 jobs are created in other businesses in the economy of the five-county medical service area," according to the study.

In dollars and cents, this means "the total income impact of Charleston Area Medical Center from operating activities was $520.9 million on the economy of the five-county medical service area."

When you consider construction-related activities at CAMC, that number jumps to $536.3 million.

The fact that Charleston Area Medical Center is a tax-exempt entity does not mean that CAMC does not generate significant tax dollars through its employees and the secondary employment.

The study estimated CAMC employees paid $41.4 million in federal taxes in 2011 (adding construction and secondary employees the total was $64.8 million); total state income taxes (CAMC, construction and secondary employees) was $23.4 million; total sales taxes (CAMC, construction and secondary employees) was $12 million and the total local residential property taxes (CAMC, construction and secondary employees) was $4.7 million.

"Only by continually re-investing in the broader forms of wealth will we be able to increase the quality of life for present generations and sustain the livelihoods for all of us," said Becky Ceperley, president and CEO, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. camc.org.

"CAMC not only provides health services to the residents of our community but also contributes to many aspects of that broader wealth. The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation looks forward to continuing to work with CAMC to improve the quality of life in our region."

During this same time (FY 2011), CAMC wrote off more than $39 million in charity care at cost, wrote off more than $21.5 million as bad debt at cost and experienced more than $140.2 million in losses on patients with government insurance (i.e. Medicaid, Medicare, PEIA), which reimburses health care providers below the cost of care.

As the state's largest safety net hospital, CAMC provides care to a disproportionately large Medicaid and uninsured population, offers services that the community needs and serves as a regional tertiary care center that many rural hospitals refer patients to for specialized treatment.

"CAMC provides the community with many services, at a financial loss, that no one else offers," said David Ramsey, CAMC CEO. "And as a not-for-profit, any money remaining at the end of the year gets invested right back in to equipment, facilities and services."

Volunteerism is another vital part of creating and maintaining a thriving community, and each year employees give their time to local nonprofits, churches and other organizations in hopes of making a difference in the area.

CAMC recently conducted a volunteerism survey to see where employees and physicians are helping their communities. The 232 employees and six physicians who responded spend an average of 11 hours a month volunteering. The organizations range from national groups to local schools, churches and fire departments.

"We encourage our employees to be involved in their community, in whatever form they choose," Ramsey said. "One of the reasons our area has such a wonderful quality of life is that West Virginians have a strong sense of community."

CAMC also is one of four major teaching hospitals in West Virginia that trains medical students, resident physicians and students in a variety of other health-related disciplines.

There are currently 176 residents, fellows and interns at CAMC in various specialties. CAMC also serves as a clinical training site for about 800 students per year through educational affiliations with regional colleges and universities. In addition to teaching future clinicians, CAMC also provides several educational opportunities to the public.

For more information about the companies of the CAMC Health System, and job opportunities or services offered, visit camc.org.

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