Economic Impact of Health Sector of Love County Revealed
Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
A recent seminar at Mercy Health/Love County Hospital for 40 community leaders from throughout the county brought an awareness of the tremendous importance of medical and health care services in Love County.
This sector creates jobs, especially at hospitals and nursing homes, which employ lots of people. We have one hospital and one nursing home in Love County. Also here are two clinics, two pharmacies, a dental office, an optometrist office, and a county health office.
In dollars and cents, the health sector:
- Employs 219 people.
- They earn $11,846,792 a year (including benefits).
- The ripple effect in the community from this employment creates another 40 jobs and another $1,500,000 in income.
The health sector is growing fast, with:
- 25% more employees than in 2002.
- 30% more wages than in 2002.
The overall economic impact of the health sector also is reflected in rural development. A strong rural health care system attracts business, industry, and retirees.
Presenting the report were consultants from the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health and Oklahoma State Cooperative Extension. They are assisting the hospital in a community health needs assessment. The assessment will continue with five more report meetings over the next six months.
One of the meetings will look at data on the health status of Love County. Participants will develop a prioritized list of community health needs and identify the potential remedies.
Another important part of the assessment is a survey questionnaire to the public asking about usage of local health services and any additional services they would like to see.
Copies of the survey are being circulated in the community. You are urged to fill one out and return it to the RSVP office, Mercy Health/Love County, OSU Extension, or the Love County Health Department.
To learn more about the health needs assessment, call the hospital at 276-3347.
Mercy Health/Love County, which includes the hospital, clinic, and ambulance service, is the largest employer in the sector. It employs 135 people. Among them are five physicians, a family nurse practitioner, and six physician assistants.
Following the last user survey in 2002, the people of Love County voted to continue the sales tax that funds capital equipment at the facility.
As a result, the EMS was elevated to “advanced life support” level, the highest rating in rural Oklahoma. There are now two ambulance stations in the county, one of them with a fire brigade. Most of the EMS employees are paramedics.
Through building projects, Mercy Health/Love County was able to meet other expressed community needs. This included a new wing on the clinic, an additional physician, and two additional physician assistants.
People with sudden illnesses now can drop in at the clinic without an appointment to see a physician assistant or family nurse practitioner. Or, to save waiting time, the patient can call ahead for a “same day appointment.”
The hospital laboratory, radiology department, and therapy department are open to everyone, regardless of where their physician order for services was written. The therapy department now has its own building with more rooms for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and pulmonary therapy.
Recently, the hospital adopted electronic medical recordkeeping, which allows patients to make a seamless transfer among Mercy hospitals without having to carry or wait for paper records to follow.