Everyone understands rural hospitals’ critical role in providing local healthcare to their patients. But there are many other ways these institutions contribute to their communities. In keeping with National Hospital Week, Wapiti points out a few overlooked benefits of having a hospital in your community.
It is common for rural hospitals to be among the biggest employers in their area. Job creation goes beyond doctors and nurses to include administrative staff, support, and ancillary services. Hospitals also create a need for medical equipment vendors and other related industries.
Rural areas often need help attracting major employers. Businesses consider several factors before investing in smaller communities, including access to local healthcare. In this way, the presence of a hospital offers a significant boost to the local economy.
Rural hospitals may also help increase property values. By creating jobs and attracting economic development, hospitals can contribute to an increased demand for housing. While this depends on additional factors, including the size of the community and the location of the hospital, the potential is there.
Rural hospitals can help develop the next generation of healthcare workers to serve the needs of their patients. Through scholarships, training, and recruitment programs, hospitals’ “grow our own” approach to closing the gap in available healthcare talent in smaller communities can also increase the workforce and tax base.
Hospitals can be the first line of defense during natural disasters and other emergencies. Although hospitals in smaller communities can quickly be overwhelmed by a surge of patients, they can help stabilize victims so they can be transported to other facilities. Additionally, in a large-scale power outage, hospitals may be the only facility with electricity and can serve as a shelter for displaced people.
As we celebrate National Hospital Week, Wapiti reminds you of the many ways hospitals serve our communities beyond their central mission of providing healthcare services.
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