by Phil Yacuboski
More than one in every 10 jobs in Pennsylvania is supported by hospitals, meaning an annual economic impact of $136.1 billion dollars to Pennsylvania. The analysis, from a report released by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, found that hospital systems throughout the state generated almost 654,000 jobs.
“It’s a broad imprint,” said Dr. Sari Siegal, vice-president of HAP and the report’s lead author. “It’s both direct and indirect. There’s a ripple effect. Hospitals not only spend money on their employees, but then there are so many jobs related to the hospital that are outside its four walls.”
The study found a $60.5 billion direct impact from hospitals such as employee salaries, wages and benefits as well as $75.6 billion in indirect impact with dollars from businesses that rely on hospitals. The jobs, the report found, are family sustaining jobs.
“The restaurant down the street that is crowded from people going to the hospital at lunch time is an example of that,” she said. “It’s really looking and following the dollars that cascade across the economy. It’s the trickle effect.”
According to the report, the hospital economy has grown 50% in the last decade.
Dr. Siegal said in part that could be due to Pennsylvania’s aging population.
“We have a larger older population as compared to other states,” she said. “I think that’s definitely a factor.”
The latest census numbers show the Keystone State’s elder population is growing 20 times faster than the rest of the population in the state. In 2025, one in five Pennsylvanians will be age 65 or older, according to government projections. In Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Wayne, Pike, Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, Carbon and Schuylkill counties, between 30 and 35% of the population is older than age 65.
“I think that’s good explanation as to why there is as much infrastructure as there is,” she said.
Dr. Siegal said the steady growth won’t slow down.
“It will increase,” she said.
Geisinger, which serves more than 3 million people in its service area, is responsible for more than 32,000 employees. According to HAP, Geisinger is responsible for $8.9 billion to the Pennsylvania economy.
Many of the people hired for those jobs come through recruiting.
“Our recruiting process begins with strong partnerships between our operational teams and our recruitment teams,” said Jeff Lowry, director of talent management at Geisinger. “We identify the role that needs to be filled and the type of candidate who qualifies for this role.”
He said at any given time, there are about 2,000 jobs listed throughout the Geisinger system.
“We recruit from multiple sources in each of our markets,” he said. “To be successful, we need to implement a variety of tactics. We recruit from the open job market by posting our open positions on general and industry specific job boards.”
He said they often use employees to help in recruiting as well as creating a pipeline from local high schools and colleges.
Lowry said recruiting is used in the all positions at the hospital – from support, research, corporate and nursing/medical staff.
Dr. Siegal, who has been doing the report annually, said research dollars now represent $1.8 billion of the economy.
“That speaks to the world class researchers we have working in our hospital system right here in Pennsylvania,” she said.