Local hospitals provide employment, taxes and buy services

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2016

Together, Highland Community Hospital and Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home provide tens of millions of dollars into the Pearl River county economy. Photo by Julia Arenstam

Together, Highland Community Hospital and Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home provide tens of millions of dollars into the Pearl River county economy.
Photo by Julia Arenstam

With two hospitals located in Pearl River County, the local economic impact of the healthcare industry has slowly increased over the past several years.
According to data from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the total labor income in 2015 for the healthcare sector was more than $57 million in Pearl River County. In addition, there were 1,282 employees and more than $80 million in direct sales.
The two hospitals in the county—Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home and Highland Community Hospital—provided over $12 million in earnings for 2015.
Highland Community Hospital Administrator Mark Stockstill said out of their 356 employees, about 97 percent live in the Picayune area and contribute significantly to the local economy.
According to data collected from 2013 to 2015, Highland provided about $21 million in charity and uncompensated care, paid more than $46 million in salaries, purchased about $6 million worth of local goods and services and paid $440,190 in ad valorem and school taxes.
From hiring local grounds keepers to purchasing gas within the city and electricity from local power companies Stockstill said, “anything else we can do local, we do.”
“It’s hard to estimate the true economic impact,” he said.
Highland has increased their proactive publicity through social media and marketing campaigns to promote the services and individual healthcare providers they employ, Stockstill said.
“The reaction has been phenomenal, beyond our wildest dreams,” he said.
After an initial $60 million capital expenditure to build the hospital in 2013, Stockstill said their need for capital expenditures has decreased significantly because most of their equipment is relatively new.
“We built a brand new, state-of-the-art hospital to carry us another 50 to 60 years,” he said.
Data collected by the Mississippi Hospital Association shows the total economic impact of Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home to be $37 million per year, according to the most recent data released in 2012.
Payroll for the county hospital amounted to just under $24 million in 2012, employing about 500 employees.
According to MHA data, 92 percent of patients at Pearl River Community Hospital have Medicare, while eight percent pay privately or receive uncompensated care.
As one of the largest employers in the northern end of the county, Pearl River County Hospital Administrator Steve Vaughan said one of their most important impacts in the county is the training the hospital provides to future healthcare providers.
“PRCHNH is one of the largest providers of mental health and behavioral health services in the Southeast region of Mississippi, including pediatric and adolescent patients,” Vaughan said in an emailed statement. “We are the sole source of nursing home services in north Pearl River County. PRCHNH has the only comprehensive Rural Health Clinic in north Pearl River County.”
As the need for healthcare continues to grow around the nation, Vaughan said his administration is working to increase outpatient services, increase the number of staff and increase opportunities to local providers so they remain in the area.
“Local services allow family caregivers to take care of their loved ones without losing more time away from work,” Vaughan said. “PRCHNH is a necessary component of the infrastructure needed to attract new manufacturing businesses and other new jobs to the county.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

email author More by Julia