New study: Tidelands Health contributes more than $500M to local economy
Tidelands Health, the region’s largest health care provider, generated $504.5 million of regional economic impact and supported 5,373 jobs across the region in 2016, according to a new study conducted by Coastal Carolina University.
“Tidelands Health is a major economic engine within the local economy,” said Dr. Robert Salvino, the study’s author and a professor of economics at Coastal Carolina’s E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business. “The health system is fueling local business and driving employment in a wide variety of sectors.”
The study evaluated how the health system’s day-to-day operations and construction activity directly and indirectly benefit the economy in Horry and Georgetown counties.
For example, it examined the health system’s impact on local employment. In addition to employing more than 1,700 full-time employees, Tidelands Health also helps stimulate job growth by purchasing goods and services from local businesses.
The employees of those companies, in turn, help create additional jobs when they use their income to make purchases for personal use.
Tidelands Health is a private, not-for-profit health system governed by a volunteer board of trustees. The organization has served the community since 1950 and is Georgetown County’s largest private employer. Over the years, the system has grown to include three hospitals and nearly 50 care locations that stretch from Andrews in Georgetown County to North Myrtle Beach in Horry County.
Because the health system is not-for-profit and does not have stockholders, any excess income generated is reinvested into the organization in the form of new facilities, technologies and services to improve health care in the region.
“We are incredibly proud of our contribution to the economic health of the region,” said H. McRoy Skipper Jr., CPA, chairman of the Tidelands Health board. “It is humbling to realize the significant economic impact of our health system on the community.”
The benefit of Tidelands Health to the local economy is particularly pronounced, according to Salvino, because of the health system’s relatively high wages and the proportion of its spending that stays local.
“We are blessed to have extremely strong relationships with the local business community,” said Bruce Bailey, president and CEO of Tidelands Health. “We benefit tremendously from the skills and expertise of our region’s vendors and contractors.”
Part of the health system’s economic benefit in the region is driven by its continued expansion, the study found. The organization’s construction activity in 2016 accounted for 471 jobs and $35.3 million in regional economic impact. Tidelands Health has reinvested millions of dollars into Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital to better serve the people of Georgetown and the surrounding community. And the system’s growth plans continue to focus on meeting the medical needs of Horry County, one of the fastest-growing areas of the United States.
The health system is planning to break ground this spring on a $44 million, 65,000-square-foot medical facility in the Market Common community. That facility will be home to a wide variety of services, including physician offices, physical therapy, imaging, pain management, laboratory and more. The system has also announced plans to partner with HealthSouth Corp. for the construction of a new, 46-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Little River.
Beyond daily operations and construction, the study also found that Tidelands Health plays an important role in supporting the tourism industry by providing care to people who are visiting the area or own second homes.
Tidelands Health served more than 6,000 out-of-state patients in 2016, according to the study. The availability of high-quality medical care allows tourists to remain in the area instead of leaving for care and is important to people when deciding whether to purchase a second home in the area.