Commentary

Nebraska hospitals are economic engines that provide essential benefits to their communities

May 14, 2022 3:00 am

Doctor showing CT scan to patient in examination room at hospital (Morsa Images/Getty Images)

Nebraska’s hospitals are the cornerstone of health and wellness for individuals across the state. Hospitals also are also economic engines that grow rural and urban communities.

During National Hospital Week, May 8-14, the Nebraska Hospital Association is saying thank you to our hospital leaders and the health care heroes working at hospitals across our state. We are also taking this opportunity to highlight the critical role that hospitals play in our state and the outstanding work they do providing care inside their facilities and engaging their communities outside their facilities.

It’s important to remember that Nebraska’s hospitals are available 24/7. Health care heroes are there to meet the needs of individuals in our communities, whether it be illness, injury, treatment, rehabilitation, education, wellness care, prenatal care or palliative care. Our doors are always open, and we are there for you when you need us.

Nebraska hospitals are a tremendous economic engine for the state of Nebraska. They employ more than 49,000 Nebraskans, resulting in more than 50,000 additional jobs in the state created as a result of hospitals buying goods and services from other local businesses. Nebraska hospitals also pay out over $3.6 billion in payroll and benefits directly to Nebraskans. When other expenses are included, our hospitals have a combined economic impact on the state of almost $15 billion.

While the economic impacts of hospitals are significant, it’s the community benefits that have lasting effects. The Nebraska Hospital Association recently released our Community Benefits Report, which identifies the collective impact of our hospitals and highlights the work of individual members.

While Nebraska hospitals have consistently been leaders and partners to help build strong, healthy communities, now hospitals are being called upon to increase their contributions to their communities. Combined, Nebraska hospitals provide approximately $1.4 billion in community benefits annually. This includes traditional charity care for Nebraskans without an ability to pay and covering bad debts for Nebraskans who struggle to pay for the care they receive. Hospitals must subsidize the shortfall from Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates that do not cover the full cost to provide services under these programs.

Nebraska hospitals invest in prevention programs such as free health screenings, engagement at health fairs and outreach to vulnerable populations. They also spend millions of dollars on life-saving research studies and clinical trials.

Hospitals support important educational initiatives. They fund health professional programs such as medical internships, residencies and fellowships to grow the next generation of health care professionals. They also engage in community building activities such as workforce training and engagement with K-12 students interested in health care careers.

Nebraska hospitals consistently provide nationally recognized, award-winning excellence in quality patient care, patient satisfaction and state-of-the-art technology. Our hospitals and health systems remain committed to providing access to high-quality, affordable health care while innovatively transforming Nebraska into a center of excellence.

At the Nebraska Hospital Association, we are incredibly proud of the collective impact of our member hospitals and the care they provide in our state.

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Jeremy Nordquist
Jeremy Nordquist

Jeremy Nordquist was named president of the Nebraska Hospital Association in December 2021. Previously, Jeremy served as government affairs director at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha. An accomplished health care policy leader with 20 years’ experience in advocacy at the state and federal level, he served in the Nebraska Legislature from 2009–2015 representing District 7 in Omaha. Jeremy holds a master of public administration degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Creighton University in Omaha.

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