Opinion | Health Care Employment Is Rising. Is That a Good Thing?


The largest success story within the desk is No. 2, Minnesota’s Olmsted County, the place the Mayo Clinic in Rochester attracts sufferers from throughout the higher Midwest, in addition to elsewhere in the US and overseas. Mayo has change into much more vital to the town in recent times as a result of IBM has decreased jobs there at what was as soon as certainly one of its greater laptop factories. “It’s a true blessing to have a world-renowned well being care establishment primarily based in our county,” says John Wade, the president of Rochester Space Financial Improvement Inc.

Each county that’s depending on the well being care trade should determine whether or not to double down on its specialty or to diversify so it doesn’t have all its financial eggs in a single basket. Olmsted County is open to every kind of employers, but it surely’s emphasizing well being care, says Patrick Seeb, the chief director of Vacation spot Medical Heart, which, regardless of its title, isn’t a hospital however an financial improvement company accountable for doling out infrastructure funds from the State of Minnesota.

Seeb is attempting to get folks to name Rochester America’s Med Metropolis. Google and Epic Techniques have opened workplaces there to work with Mayo on, respectively, information mining and digital medical information, he says. And now different corporations are arriving due to Google and Epic. “It’s concentric circles,” he says.

The third county on the record is a much less joyful story. Kentucky’s Breathitt County is in part of Appalachia that has suffered from declining employment, dwindling inhabitants and poor well being. “Well being care is certainly one of our greatest employers,” says Sue Clair, who has an actual property improvement firm within the county seat, Jackson. “We don’t have some other type of employment however that.” A 40,000-square-foot industrial constructing was put up greater than 20 years in the past with public funds however has by no means attracted a business tenant. “Proper now it has the Breathitt County Water District in it,” she says.

Breathitt County isn’t alone on the record in being hard-pressed. Three of the highest 10 counties are in japanese Kentucky, and one other, Cumberland, is in south-central Kentucky, all of that are struggling economically. That’s no coincidence. When the native economic system falters, complete employment dwindles, and the necessity for well being care companies will increase, each of which push counties upward on the record. Kentucky has the nation’s third-highest mortality charge, after West Virginia and Mississippi, based on the Nationwide Heart for Well being Statistics.

Kosali Simon, a well being care economist who’s the affiliate vice provost for well being sciences at Indiana College in Bloomington, ran some calculations for me utilizing her personal set of knowledge and located that the share of a county’s inhabitants in poverty is a predictor of the share of its employment from well being care and social help.

Many economists view rising well being care employment nationally as a blended blessing. “Each particular person employed in well being care is one much less particular person obtainable to work in different industries,” David Cutler, a well being care economist at Harvard College, wrote in a 2018 article for The JAMA Discussion board, a publication of the American Medical Affiliation. “Thus, folks ought to work in well being care provided that the additional care is extra helpful than the output could be in another trade.”


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