Emily Rice Published

W.Va. Hospitals Contribute $1 Billion In Community Investment

A blue sign pointing toward a hospital is seen on a rural road.Courtesy Kentucky Hospital Association

West Virginia hospitals contribute $1.02 billion in community benefits and drive $12.5 billion in economic impact, according to the West Virginia Hospital Association’s Community Benefit report.

Annually, West Virginia hospitals treat 6.8 million people with 5.6 million of those patients being treated in outpatient care.

“When you think about West Virginia hospitals, and today’s hospitals really cover the full spectrum of health care services and focus on a collaborative value-driven approach to improve overall patient health, rather than merely treat the symptoms of illnesses,” said Tony Gregory, vice president of Legislative Affairs for the West Virginia Hospital Association.

According to the report, West Virginia hospitals employ nearly 49,000 West Virginians, paying $3.5 billion in direct wages and benefits.

“When the word hospital comes to mind, many think of operating rooms, nursing units, beds, and medical equipment,” Gregory said. “Those are all necessary components of a hospital. But what makes our West Virginia hospitals truly special are the thousands of people who provide care and compassion within them.”

The 69 West Virginia Hospital Association facilities indirectly support another 42,000 jobs in West Virginia.

The community investment results by West Virginia’s nonprofit hospitals are measured annually in hospital – or health system-specific Community Benefit Reports. A national standard, set by the Catholic Health Association defines what counts as community benefit. 

The total of $1.02 billion reflects the total community benefit hospitals provide through taxes paid to fund the West Virginia Medicaid program, shortfalls from Medicare and Medicaid services, investments in community programs and education, and the cost of charity care and bad debt. 

“Medicare and West Virginia Medicaid reimburse West Virginia hospitals, below the cost of care, that the hospital incurs to provide the service, resulting in payment shortfalls,” Gregory said. “And this impacts the ability for hospitals to provide the level of services they provide to the community.”

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.