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Published on May 10, 2016

Lawrence Memorial Hospital celebrating National Hospital Week

Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine St.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine St.

By Janice Early | Lawrence Memorial Hospital

This is the week staff at Lawrence Memorial Hospital join hospitals across the country in celebrating National Hospital Week. Dating back to 1921, the concept was suggested by a magazine editor who hoped a community-wide celebration would alleviate public fears about hospitals. Coincidentally, LMH was founded in 1921.

LMH uses this annual observance to recognize the men and women who, day in and day out, remain committed to improving the health of their communities through compassionate care, constant innovation and unwavering dedication.

Farewell party

The community is invited to a retirement reception for Lawrence Memorial Hospital President and CEO Gene Meyer on Wednesday, May 18, in the hospital’s Atrium. From 3 to 5 p.m., join LMH staff in wishing Meyer, who has served LMH for 19 years, a fond farewell. Refreshments will be available.

LMH President and CEO Gene Meyer said: “We’re extremely proud of each member of our staff and we recognize the important role they play in extending a sense of trust to our patients and our communities.”

Last year, LMH staff saw 6,696 inpatients; assisted with 1,210 births; provided care during 168,757 outpatient visits; and treated 38,969 emergency patients.

But a hospital is more than a place where people go to heal; it is a part of a community that fosters health and represents hope. National Hospital Week is a time dedicated to reinforcing the valuable contributions hospitals make in our communities.

LMH is one of 126 community hospitals that provide vital health care services in Kansas. Not only do Kansas hospitals serve thousands of individuals, keeping our communities healthy, strong and vibrant, but hospitals also benefit the financial health of our state.

As the fifth largest producer of total income and sales in the state, the Kansas health sector is a powerful economic force. The contributions of hospitals and health care providers to the state’s economy are often overlooked, including the number of people employed, the impact of purchases, and the impact of employees’ spending and tax payments.

A January 2016 report entitled “The Importance of the Health Care Sector to the Kansas Economy,” produced by researchers at the Office of Local Government, K-State Research and Extension, estimated the “gross” impacts associated with the health care sector on economic activity in the state and locally by county.

The report identified three general areas of health care’s importance: health care attracts and retains business and industry; health care attracts and retains retirees; and health care creates jobs in the local economy.

In Kansas, hospitals employ 83,867 people — 4.3 percent of all job holders in the state — and generate approximately $5.5 billion in direct labor income to the Kansas economy each year.

In Douglas County, according to the report, in 2013 (the most recent year for which information was available) the health services sector as a whole accounted for an estimated 7.7 percent of total employment in Douglas County, or 4,943 jobs. Health services in Douglas County ranks fourth among payers of wages to employees.

But the full impact goes beyond the number of people employed and the wages they receive. There is a secondary impact or “ripple effect” that comes from local businesses buying and selling to each other and from area workers spending their income for household goods and services. The ripple effect spreads the economic impact of the health sector through the county’s economy.

The report’s authors calculated economic multipliers for 13 categories of health services and the total impact of the ripple effect on the Douglas County economy.

For example, in 2013 LMH employed 1,324 people and had an employment multiplier of 1.61. This means that for each job created at LMH, another 0.61 jobs are created in other businesses and industries in Douglas County. The direct impact of the 1,324 hospital employees results in an indirect impact of 805 jobs (1,324 x 0.61 = 805). Thus, the hospital had a total impact on area employment of 2,129 jobs.

Similarly, multiplier analysis can estimate the total impact on income and retail sales. The report estimated that health services accounted for more than $310 million in total income and about $116 million in retail sales in Douglas County.

So while Hospital Week is an annual observance to recognize the people who work to keep our community healthy, it’s important to understand the large role Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the other health services providers play in the area’s economy. A vigorous and sustainable health care system is essential for the health and welfare of community residents, but contributes to the health of the local economy as well.

The full statewide report and links to county reports can be found on the Kansas Hospital Association website at

— Janice Early is vice president of marketing and communications for Lawrence Memorial Hospital, a major sponsor of WellCommons. She can be reached at janice.early

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