• Study: WI Hospitals & Health Systems Critical for State, Local Economies

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    January 08, 2020

    Wisconsin hospitals and health systems are well-known for providing high-quality and accessible care for Wisconsin citizens, helping to keep our communities healthier. And according to a new study released today from the Wisconsin Hospital Association, those communities’ economic health also experience tremendous benefits because of local hospital and health system vibrancy. 

    WHA’s Healthy Hospitals, Healthy Communities report shares data gleaned from a 2019 University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension study examining the widespread economic impact and importance of Wisconsin’s health care sector. A follow-up to a similar study four years ago, this year’s report expands the reach of the previous study by examining health care entities broader than hospitals alone. 

    “Hospitals and health care systems rank as one of the state’s largest employers and strongest economic drivers,” WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding said. “Wisconsin can retain and attract talented people to our state because the health care sector provides family-supporting jobs across a wide spectrum of education and skills – from high school to an advanced degree.”

    Locally, Aspirus Riverview Hospital & Clinics employs approximately approximately 895 people in facilities throughout southern Wood and northern Adams counties, including Aspirus Riverview Hospital, Aspirus Doctors Clinic & Walk-In Care, Aspirus Riverview Clinics in Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, Rome and Adams, Aspirus Riverview Therapies, and Aspirus Riverview Dental.

    UW-Madison Division of Extension Professor Steve Deller, who produced the data analysis for WHA’s report, also highlighted how health care jobs have a greater impact for communities and the families supported by those jobs. 

     “One of the most important elements of having a strong health care presence within the community, in addition to access to quality health care, is the nature of the pay these jobs provide the residents of Wisconsin,” Deller writes in his analysis.  

    Some of the study’s findings include: 

    • The health care sector directly employs more than 327,000 people in the state. And when considering the “ripple effect” of other economic sectors interacting with health care, the overall number of jobs attributed to the health care sector is approximately 571,900 jobs – more than 15% of all Wisconsin employment. 


    • Patients from other states seeking Wisconsin’s high-quality care spent $2.3 billion on hospital services in 2017. For every $1 million in spending from out-of-state patients, 13 new jobs (total impact) are created.


    • The health care sector pays more than $3 billion in taxes to state and local governments, helping to support our schools and vital government programs. 

    “As the report’s title states, healthy hospitals do indeed equal healthy communities and Wisconsin is fortunate to have so many top-quality hospitals and health systems,” Borgerding said. “Health care is one of Wisconsin’s greatest assets and our hospitals have been and always will be a deep part of the fabric of our state.” 

    The report is available on WHA’s website, www.wha.org


    Aspirus is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Its 7,700 employees are focused on improving the health and well-being of people throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Aspirus serves communities through four hospitals in Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and air-medical transport, medical goods, nursing homes and a broad network of physicians. Aspirus was recognized in 2018 and 2019 by IBM Watson Health as a Top 15 Health System in its annual study identifying the top-performing health systems in the country. For more information, visit aspirus.org