The economics of health
12 Mar 2018
UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center generates 1,159 jobs that add $72,784,155 to the local economy, according to a study just released by the Iowa Hospital Association.
It is one of the area’s largest employers. However, there is much more to the story than just the jobs directly created. The presence of a state-of-the-art medical center here helps community leaders attract new corporate investment in Webster County.
“I don’t think I could overstate the value of having a good regional medical center in a community,” Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, said. “It is a big economic multiplier, but I think just as big is what it contributes to quality of life and our ability to get a workforce to support the companies that we can be competitive for. … Having good health care and having access to the various specialties that we have here is extremely important.”
Plautz said the strength of the medical center helps sell Fort Dodge to the decision-makers at companies considering locating in Webster County or expanding an existing facility that is already here.
“We market UnityPoint with every client that we have,” he said. “I’ve even taken clients through the hospital to let them see it firsthand. They are really surprised that we have the level of care that we have here. I think given the size of Fort Dodge, people don’t expect us to have the level of health care that we have in this community. We go out of our way to make sure people are aware of it.”
Plautz said having excellent health care facilities in Fort Dodge makes it easier for companies to recruit the workers they need.
“Workers will be looking at the kind of health care you have available in your community when they are considering moving from Dayton, Ohio, or Chicago or Omaha to take a job here,” he said. “From a workforce standpoint, it’s important.”
Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich shares Plautz’s assessment of the medical center’s importance in helping the local economy grow. He also stressed that it improves the town’s ability to attract new businesses and the people they need as employees.
“Health care plays a really high role in why people select where they want to live,” Bemrich said. “Trinity and UnityPoint play a significant role in providing that top-quality health care. It impacts not just Fort Dodge, but the region also.”
Plautz said that the broad range of health care issues Trinity Regional Medical Center can address makes its presence here appealing to companies considering a move to Webster County or an expansion.