The excellence of Trinity Regional Medical Center is a good example of something so important a part of our immediate environment that it is easy to take for granted.
Having a first-rate medical center close at hand is essential to the quality of life of every Fort Dodger. Trinity has become a major regional referral center for specialty care. That benefits not only those who call Fort Dodge or Webster County home, but also many others who live in the nearby counties.
The presence in our community of a superb medical facility also makes Fort Dodge more competitive as it seeks the economic growth that is so important to the future of the city and region. It's no secret that two of the factors that are of critical importance in corporate decision-making about site selection are the quality of a town's schools and the ready availability of comprehensive, top-quality health care. Fort Dodge does well on both dimensions even when compared to much larger cities.
Consequently, it is no exaggeration to assert that Trinity's excellence helps this town achieve its dreams for tomorrow.
But there's more to the story.
A 2011 survey by the Iowa Hospital Association documented that the Hawkeye State's 118 community hospitals have an enormous economic impact. According the IHA, annually Iowa's hospitals provide more than 70,000 jobs and pay in excess of $3.8 billion in salaries and benefits. That makes hospitals the state's ninth largest non-agricultural employer. And that's 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 employees, the IHA estimates that 136,000 jobs are tied directly or indirectly to the hospital industry. The overall economic impact on the state's economy is calculated to be just short of $6.2 billion a year.
Here in Webster County, Trinity Regional Medical Center generates about 1,360 jobs and adds nearly $60 million to the Webster County economy, according to information released by the hospital this month.
There are many reasons to take pride in Trinity Regional Medical Center. It's no exaggeration to assert that its success contributes mightily to the ability of our town and region to thrive. Not only is it vital to the health of people who live here and in surrounding counties, but it also contributes to the ability of Fort Dodge and nearby towns to prosper economically.