A new study released today by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) and the Montana Hospital Association shows Montana hospitals account for almost seven percent of Montana’s total private sector employment and nearly 10 percent of total private sector wages, making hospitals the leading sector in Montana for jobs and personal income.

The study reports Montana’s non-governmental hospitals directly employed more than 24,000 people. Impact analysis indicates that Montana hospitals are responsible for nearly 61,000 private sector jobs economy-wide.

The report also examined the impact generated by Medicaid program services delivered by hospitals. Medicaid funds to Montana hospitals alone, which MHA estimates represent approximately 30 percent of all Montana Medicaid payments made on behalf of beneficiaries, account for 12,000 jobs statewide.

“Hospitals play an instrumental and immeasurable role in improving the health of their communities, but their contributions are more far-reaching than many people realize,” said Rich Rasmussen, president and CEO of the Montana Hospital Association. “This study confirms that hospitals are major contributors to our state’s growing economy, and in rural areas, are often the backbone industry. Our community hospitals support more jobs and more wages than any other sector in Montana, and are a major factor in their town’s ability to attract and retain businesses and residents.”

“Health care in general, and hospitals in particular, are at the heart of every regional economy in Montana,” said Patrick Barkey, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. “This study confirms that.”

“Many challenges confront the hospital sector today with respect to payments from both government and private sector sources,” said the study’s author Gregg Davis, BBER research consultant and economics professor at Flathead Valley Community College. “This study frames the hospital sector’s importance to the economy in terms of new jobs and income, or in the case of declining fund sources, the contractions possible and resultant loss of jobs and income economy-wide.”

BBER findings include:

  • In 2017, Montana’s non-governmental hospitals employed more than 24,000 people with a payroll of over $1.5 billion.
  • Montana’s hospitals directly account for almost 7 percent of Montana’s total private sector employment, and almost 10 percent of total private sector wages.
  • Hospitals are responsible for nearly 61,000 private sector jobs economy-wide, and over $3.1 billion in personal income.
  • For every hospital job added or lost, an additional 1.2 jobs are created or destroyed economy-wide.
  • For every Medicaid dollar paid by Montana taxpayers, federal taxpayers match it with an additional $1.89 in federal funds.
  • Medicaid funds to hospitals alone account for nearly 12,000 Montana jobs economy-wide.
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