The two hospitals operating under the flag of Southeast Georgia Health System generated just under three quarters of a billion dollars in economic impact prior to the current decade, according to figures released by the Georgia Hospital Association.
The hospitals in Brunswick and St. Marys were responsible for nearly $750 million in impact in 2019. The figure is based on a formula used by the U.S. Department of Commerce to determine total impact. It includes the ripple effect of direct hospital expenditures on other sectors of the economy.
Health system expenditures that year were around $326 million.
The hospitals provided 1,855 full-time jobs during that same time period and spent close to $147 million in salaries and benefits.
The employment number excludes health system jobs at its two Senior Care Centers and at its more than 50 physician practices. When added, they raise the number of jobs tied to the health system to 4,732.
“Our mission is to provide safe, quality, accessible and cost-effective health care to meet the health needs of the communities we serve,” said Michael D. Scherneck, president and chief executive officer of the health system. “This includes Glynn and Camden counties, as well as our surrounding communities in Brantley, Charlton, McIntosh and Wayne counties.
“We’re proud to serve as an economic engine and to be counted among the leading employers in our region.”
As with the rest of the Georgia hospital community, the health system is concerned about the economic challenges ahead, including the number of uninsured individuals.
In 2019, Georgia had the 11th highest uninsured population in the nation at 13.4%.
Thirty-eight percent of the hospitals in the state operated with negative total margins, the health system said. Southeast Georgia Health System provided approximately $33.6 million in uncompensated care that year.
“We’re dedicated to ensuring our residents receive state-of-the art health care services,” Scherneck said. “We provide quality care to every patient, regardless of their ability to pay.”
He said the health system is the primary guardian of health care in the community.
“A healthy community depends on the strength of its hospital both in terms of treating patients and maintaining its commitment to its employees, all while remaining financially sound,” Scherneck said.