In every community, the local hospital is vitally important, not only for the health care services they provide, but for their contribution to the economy. The jobs and payroll generated by Kentucky’s hospitals supply tax revenue to state and local governments and support other Kentucky businesses through the purchase of goods and services. These dollars have a “ripple effect” as they move through the larger economy, supporting other businesses and jobs in the community as well as generating tax revenue used to fund state programs. The total economic impact is calculated by adding annual local hospital purchases and annual local employee purchases. Made in the community.
The number of employees and the corresponding wages refer to employees in the hospital only. Many hospitals employ additional staffin their clinics, outpatient centers and other facilities.
The Medicare wage index is used to adjust payments under the Medicare program. The wage index compares average hourly wages paid by Kentucky hospitals in urban and rural areas in relation to the rest of the nation. The federal government sets a uniform national, per-discharge, base payment rate, which is then increased or decreased based on a hospital’s wage index. The current wage index system creates and perpetuates lower Medicare payments to Kentucky’s hospitals, because Kentucky’s hospitals have historically had and continue to have some of the lowest costs in the nation, while maintaining higher payments to high-cost states, such as California, New York and New England states. The wage index of Kentucky’s urban and rural hospitals is lower than the national average, and lower than most surrounding states and comparable urban areas. As a result, Medicare payments to Kentucky hospitals fall below the actual cost of caring for Medicare patients.