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Complete Report on the Contribution of Health Care on Flathead County Now Available

November 28, 2016View for printing

The recent study commissioned by the Kalispell Chamber and partners, conducted by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research on the contribution of health care on Flathead County is now available in its entirety.

The report found the health care sector -- including physicians, dentists, chiropractors, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, home health agencies and all other miscellaneous health care services -- employs the largest number of people and is one of Flathead County's fastest growing industries.

The study also found the health care sector directly employs 6,300 workers in Flathead County -- the highest number of workers employed of any sector, accounting for 16 percent of the county's employment in 2015. It also reports that since 1990 employment in the county's health care sector has grown 180 percent in number of jobs, nearly 50 percent more than the next-highest industry.

"In the last two and a half decades, Flathead County's health care sector has not only grown faster than the rest of the local economy, it has grown more than twice as fast as the U.S. health care sector," said Bryce Ward, Ph.D., author of the study and associate director at UM's Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

At $313 million in total annual payroll paid to the total number of employees in the Flathead County health care sector, the study also lists the industry first in overall wages with 21 percent of the county's total payroll. Retail trade ranks second in the county's total wages at $167 million and manufacturing third at $140 million.

The health care sector's impact on jobs and wages in contributing industries is significant. According to the study, in 2015 the total number of jobs directly and indirectly tied to the industry -- including those in construction, retail trade, local and state government and real estate -- accounted for 13,000 total jobs amounting to 30 percent of the county's total employment. The total amount of personal income directly and indirectly attributable to the health care sector in Flathead County was $1 billion last year.

The growth of the industry is not only evident in dollars but in physical size as well. Between 2012 and 2018, Flathead County's health care service providers will have collectively invested $147 million in the creation of nearly 595,000 square feet of new health care facilities. This includes Flathead Valley Community College's $5.7 million Nursing and Health Sciences building, Immanuel Lutheran's $12 million senior living facility and Kalispell Regional's 190,000-square-foot, $37.8 million Women's and Children's Pavilion currently under construction, as well as plans for the hospital's 30,000-square-foot expansion of its gastrointestinal facility.

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, Kalispell Regional Community Healthcare and community partners intend to continue working together to identify opportunities for further growth of the local health care sector.

The complete report was developed with the additional support of the Kalispell Chamber Foundation, Kalispell Regional Healthcare, Glacier Bank, PayneWest Insurance, and Spectrum Business Enterprise Solutions. Physical copies of the report can be found at the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and for digital versions please visit: ... nitiatives/.
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Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. Full copyright retained by the original publication. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

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