Hospital jobs keep growing in recession

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Even in a recession year, hospitals continued to be a stable and slightly growing source of jobs and wages in Indiana—for better and for worse. The sector paid $7.3 billion to 127,000 Hoosiers in 2008, according to the latest data from the American Hospital Association.

The data is the most recent analyzed by the AHA. In spite of the recession that began in December 2007, Indiana hospitals added 5,000 jobs in 2008 and increased their payrolls by $700 million.

Hospitals continue to be one of the surest ways for local communities to bring in outside dollars, since upwards of 50 percent of a hospital’s revenue can come from the federal Medicare program and the federal-state Medicaid programs.

Wages aren’t their only contribution, either. Indiana hospitals had total expenditures nearing $15 billion in 2008, or about 6 percent of the state’s entire economy.

Statewide, unemployment has been stuck near 10 percent for nearly a year, although the state recently has begun adding jobs.

“This study reaffirms the importance of hospitals as an integral part of the state’s economic engine,” said Douglas J. Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association. “Hospitals have remained stable employers even in bad economic times.”

And yet there’s a double edge to hospital employment. The other half of hospital revenue comes from employers and private citizens, who have been increasingly squeezed by rising health care costs.

Indianapolis-based health insurer WellPoint Inc. said health care providers nationally raised prices about 8 percent in 2008, and another 8.5 percent last year. Locally, the Clarian Health hospital system pushed through rate increases of 9.75 percent in 2008 and another 9 percent last year.

That kind of spending does help create jobs in the health care sector, but tends to force non-health-care employers to reduce their payrolls to absorb the higher health care costs.

A 2004 study commissioned by the state of Indiana found that, if Hoosiers could slow the growth of health care spending by 25 percent over 10 years, the state would lose 16,000 health care jobs but gain more than four times that amount, or 68,000 non-health-care jobs.

Hospital CEOs acknowledge this, but say the way Medicare and private insurers pay them gives them incentives to do more and more procedures, not to find ways to make people healthy for less money. Some pilot programs in the new health reform law, passed in March, are designed to experiment with new payment models that reward high-quality, low-cost care rather than high volumes.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............