Steward Health Care’s Investments at Morton Hospital Improve Quality of Care and Create Positive Economic Impact on Community

Monday, January 27, 2014

Newly released economic impact report highlights $8.6 million in community benefits, $5.9 million in capital improvements, and $1.6 million in tax revenues

Morton Hospital, a part of the Steward Health Care System LLC (Steward), today released an economic impact report for 2010-2012, produced by the Health Business Group, an independent consulting firm in Boston. The report reveals that Steward invested $5.9 million in construction-related costs at Morton Hospital, provided $8.6 million in chronic disease prevention and wellness programs in surrounding communities, and delivered $1.6 million in tax revenues to the City of Taunton.

“Steward acquired community hospitals facing significant financial headwinds,” explained David Williams, president of Health Business Group. “Our analysis shows that significant investments made by Steward had a positive economic impact on the surrounding communities. Meanwhile, quality of care measures have improved.”

The $5.9 million capital investment at Morton Hospital includes improvements in multiple areas that allow patients to receive state-of-the-art care in a community hospital close to where they live. In addition to construction and capital improvements, the hospital provided $8.6 million in community benefit investments, which included programs to reduce diabetes and obesity in the community, promote cancer awareness and screenings, reduce the incidence of smoking and tobacco use, and enhance access to health care. These figures also include unreimbursed Medicaid expenses.

In 2011 and 2012, the hospital contributed $1.6 million in local property taxes, making it the second largest contributor of property taxes in Taunton. It is also one of the largest employers in Taunton, which generates additional economic benefits to the community. Steward pays more than typical employers in Massachusetts (the median full-time Steward job pays $47,071 in wages compared with $43,420 for Massachusetts as a whole). Steward pays all of its employees a “living wage” of $11.50 per hour, which is $3.50 more than the Massachusetts minimum.

As a system, Steward has committed $600 million in new capital that directly and indirectly supported approximately 33,000 jobs, generated nearly $35 million in local real estate taxes and was responsible for $8.4 billion of economic impact in 2011 and 2012. In addition to direct impacts, Steward creates secondary benefits as employee and supplier spending ripples through the economy to local businesses such as grocery stores, auto dealers, dry cleaners and others.

“We are proud of the progress we have made and we will continue to make investments at Morton Hospital to meet the evolving needs of our patients in this area,” explained Morton Hospital President Kim Bassett, RN, BSN, MBA.

Steward’s integrated community care model closely coordinates patient care among primary care physicians, specialists and other related healthcare providers in the system. Steward’s network includes over 3,000 physicians, 11 acute care hospitals, home care, an imaging operation, and a number of other post acute services. Patients are able to see their primary care doctors close to where they live and they are referred to specialists within the Steward system when needed. For patients, this means that their medical records are shared, their doctors are talking to each other, unnecessary duplication of tests can be avoided, and all levels of care are seamlessly integrated to meet personal needs.

In 2013, all Steward acute care hospitals earned an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group, a quality and safety rating that shows how well hospitals protect patients from accidents, errors, injuries and infections. In addition, Morton Hospital was honored with the Leapfrog Group’s 2013 Top Hospital Award, given to only 90 hospitals across the nation. As the report notes, “quality is a significant contributor to economic impact because patients who receive high-quality care are able to live healthier, more productive lives and contribute to the economic performance of their employers and families.”

This economic impact report was submitted to the Office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts, which has oversight authority of the Steward Health Care System.

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