National Hospital Week last week marked a time to recognize Indiana hospitals for what they are — cornerstones of our communities. They provide vital health care services and are a place of refuge and healing during times of disaster and distress. However, we should also not forget how essential hospitals are to the social fabric of our state and the role they play in our economy.
Many statistics demonstrate the contributions hospitals make in improving the health of our patients. In 2016, there were more than 2.8 million emergency room visits in Indiana, and more than 75,000 new Hoosiers were born in our state's delivery rooms. But it should also be noted that hospitals employ 110,000 individuals and support an additional 125,000 jobs elsewhere in the Indiana economy with their spending on goods and services through “ripple effects.” In 2015, hospitals generated a statewide economic impact of $33 billion.
There is much at stake for hospitals in the recent federal debate over health care policy. Gains in the number of Hoosiers with health insurance and coverage through HIP 2.0 have stabilized the finances of many safety net hospitals in rural and urban Indiana. It is critical that as policymakers craft legislation, they carefully consider how to maintain pathways to coverage for tens of millions of newly-insured Americans and ensure that providers are adequately reimbursed for their costs.
Despite uncertainty over federal health care reform, the Indiana Hospital Association and its 170 member hospitals will continue to focus on the delivery of quality care for all Hoosiers. We cannot wait to find out what happens, but must rather continue our collective mission of implementing innovative quality programs, improving patient safety and working tirelessly to make life better in communities large and small across Indiana.
National Hospital Week is a celebration of the people who ensure the well-being of our communities through their dedicated care. To the physicians, nurses, therapists, engineers, food service workers, volunteers, administrators and so many more, we thank you and honor the important role you play in serving our patients and our communities.
Doug Leonard, president,
Indiana Hospital Association