Metter’s city government and Candler County Hospital will make public the results of a study of the hospital’s economic impact Monday evening.
The city of Metter commissioned the study by the Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development at Georgia Southern University. Benjamin McKay, from the university’s Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research, will present the Candler County Hospital and Clinic Economic Impact Study at 6 p.m. in the Wilcox Auditorium on South College Street in Metter.
Another step has been to commission the impact study regarding the hospital because, as I’m sure you know, there has been a number of conversations over the last few years about the fiscal distress that the hospital has been suffering.Metter City Manager Mandi Cody
The hospital’s financial struggles are well known. In 2017, the Georgia Department of Community Health ranked Candler County Hospital the second-most financially in need among hospitals qualifying for money from the state’s Rural Hospital Tax Credit.
For Metter’s mayor and City Council, commissioning the study was another step in making economic development a priority, said Metter City Manager Mandi Cody. She noted that the city has also created an economic development department with a director of tourism and business development.
“Another step has been to commission the impact study regarding the hospital because, as I’m sure you know, there has been a number of conversations over the last few years about the fiscal distress that the hospital has been suffering,” Cody said.
So the council wanted to know what part the hospital plays in the local economy “and how to approach that particular conversation about what needs to happen for the future of the hospital based on real data about what the hospital offers,” she said.
More than 200 jobs
The study found the total amount of local economic activity linked to operating the Candler County Hospital was $21.42 million and 245 full-time or equivalent jobs, the city’s news release noted. This job count included 199 direct hospital jobs plus 46 jobs in the local economy made possible by hospital spending.
The 25-bed critical access hospital is governed by the public Hospital Authority of Candler County and receives financial backing from the county, including a tax increase last year. The city has no official supporting role, but Cody noted that the hospital is within Metter and directly affects the city’s economy.
McKay will present information not only on spending and the number of jobs created, but the number of residents the hospital draws, where patients come from, the hospital’s market share and “how others can support the hospital,” Cody said.
McKay, whose degrees include a Master of Public Administration from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Master in Business Administration from Georgia Southern, has done a number of research projects throughout Georgia.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.