1,669 jobs in Ford County tied to health care

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe
Recent Kansas State Research and Extension study shows the economic impact of healthcare in Ford County and one of its major contributors, Western Plains Medical Complex.

A recent study by the Kansas State Research and Extension office and sponsored by the Kansas Hospital Association has released the economic impact health care has provided for each county in the state of Kansas.

For Ford County, the report indicated an estimated 7.7% of total employment for the county, which comes to about 1,668 jobs in 2019. By calculating economic multipliers of 13 health care sectors, the report estimated 2,273 jobs either directly or indirectly for the county, which accounted for $113,793,000 in total county income and about $53,258,000 in county retail sales.

According to the report's lead author, Kansas State University agricultural economist John Leatherman, access to affordable quality local health care services is essential to attracting and retaining local businesses and retirees.

Among the major contributors in Ford County was Western Plains Medical Complex.

“I think we tend to forget the many reasons our local health services are important,” said WPMC CEO Rick Wallace. “We often overlook how important health care is to the county’s economic wellbeing.”

According to Leatherman, health care is the fastest growing economic sector over the past 30 years.

“Research has shown time and again that local healthcare and education are two enormously important factors for local economic development,” Leatherman said, “and both can be positively or negatively influenced by local action or inaction.”

According to Kansas Hospital Association president and CEO Chad Austin, hospitals and health services are an economic anchor in the state.

"This report documents the importance of the health care sector to the Kansas economy," said Austin. "While the estimates of economic impact are substantial, they are only a partial accounting of the benefits health care in general, and community hospitals, provide to the state. Kansas community hospitals help stabilize the population base, invigorate their communities and contribute significantly to quality of life.”

To read the full report, visit the Kansas Hospital Association website at www.kha-net.org.

For further information, contact Leatherman at 785-532-4492 or email jleather@ksu.edu.

To contact the writer, email vmarshall@gannett.com.