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Economic Impact: Another Way Metro Des Moines Medical Centers Make a Difference

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Broadlawns Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines and Mercy Medical Center – West Lakes and the hospitals of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines are good examples of  something that is a vital part of our communities which can easily be taken for granted. Yet, our collective excellence in health care is enormously important to our community and region.

Having first-rate medical centers close at hand is essential to the quality-of-life of every Des Moines metro and central Iowa resident. The presence in our community of superb medical facilities also makes the metro more competitive as it seeks the economic growth that is so important to the future of Des Moines and all of Iowa.  Two critically-important factors in corporate decision-making about site selection are the quality of a community’s schools and the ready availability of comprehensive, top-quality health care. This has been proven repeatedly with every ranking of the Des Moines metropolitan area as one of the best places to live in the nation.

Consequently, it is no exaggeration to assert that the Des Moines’ medical community’s excellence is helping the entire metro area achieve its dreams for tomorrow.

A 2013 survey by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) documented that the Hawkeye State's 118 community hospitals have an enormous economic impact. According to IHA, Iowa's hospitals provide more than 71,000 jobs and pay in excess of $4 billion in salaries and benefits annually. That puts hospitals collectively among the largest non-agricultural employers in just direct employment.

When one adds in the additional jobs in communities across the state that exist because of hospital spending and the dollars spent by their staffs, the IHA estimates nearly 130,000 jobs are tied directly or indirectly to the hospital industry. The overall economic impact on the state's economy is calculated to be approximately $6 billion a year.

The IHA report further showed in Des Moines and Polk County, Broadlawns Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines and Mercy Medical Center – West Lakes and the hospitals of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, which include Iowa Methodist/Blank Children’s Hospital, Iowa Lutheran and Methodist West helped generate 18,700 additional jobs and added $1,027,460,251 to the local economy. The impact is even greater. Medical center staff supported Polk County businesses to the tune of $351,652,900 being spent locally. Our staffs played a role in generating $21,099,174 in just sales taxes. Medical center staff also paid taxes that support schools, roads, parks and other vital infrastructure. 

Our medical centers are more than jobs, income, retail sales and tax revenue. We are even more than the high quality health care we all provide every hour of every day. Think of what our 10,874 staff members bring to the community —  in our schools, churches and volunteer groups.  Think of the many young professionals who come here to start a career at our medical centers and clinics. They are deciding Des Moines and Iowa is a great place to live. They build homes, start families and strengthen neighborhoods by putting down roots. Think of how important – and challenging – this is especially for a state like Iowa which is primarily rural. Together we are helping to reverse the “brain drain” of the past and we’re bringing some of our best and brightest former residents back home. 

There are many reasons to take pride in our work at Broadlawns Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines and Mercy Medical Center – West Lakes and the hospitals of UnityPoint Des Moines. We believe our success contributes mightily to the ability of Des Moines and Polk County to thrive. We play a vital role by maintaining the health and well-being of people who live here and in surrounding counties. We also enable the Des Moines area and the rest of Iowa to prosper economically.


Jody Jenner
Broadlawns Medical Center
President and CEO

Bob Ritz
Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines
President       

Eric Crowell
UnityPoint – Des Moines
President and CEO

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