Riverside University Health System employs more than 6,000 medical professionals and workers and generates $1.6 billion annually for the region’s economy, according to an analysis by the UCR School of Business Administration Center for Economic Forecasting.
Highlights of the study were presented to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Riverside University Health System commissioned the study to establish a benchmark for future growth in services and to help quantify the benefits of public investment into health services and medical education.
“The report highlights the tremendous impact of a vibrant health system that brings quality health services and jobs to our local communities,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “It underscores the importance of our county’s investment in a health system that is dynamic, state-of-the-art and sustainable.”
RUHS’s contributions to medical education, hospital and trauma care, behavioral health services and public health initiatives are also detailed. In 2016, for example, more than 1,000 medical residents and medical students along with hundreds of nursing students and allied professionals will train throughout RUHS’ Medical Center and community based clinics.
“That Riverside University Health System is the centerpiece of the regional health care sector has long been known,” said Christopher Thornberg, director of the UC Riverside School of Economic Forecasting and Development. “But, the results of this analysis demonstrate RUHS makes a significant contribution to the broader regional economy as well, adding appreciably to job growth, public revenues and overall output.”
RUHS’s estimated $1.6 billion in annual economic output includes $615.1 million in labor income for local workers. RUHS ongoing operations support an estimated 13,200 local jobs, with many of these jobs found in industries that are not normally associated with health care, such as Accounting and Food Services.
Some of the challenges confronting Riverside County were also identified in the Impact analysis. Despite being one of the most populous counties in the nation, Riverside County has been unable to capture the same state and federal funding for health and behavioral health services as other California counties. The funding inequities have made it difficult to attract health care providers to serve in the sweeping 7,300 square mile Inland county.
“We know we can no longer wait for federal and state politicians to fix funding disparities that have shortchanged Inland residents for decades,” said Jay Orr, CEO of Riverside County. “By building an outstanding health system with multiple access points, we are allowing patients and their families to get quality health care close to home. At the same time we are building a robust health care economy and keeping our taxpayer investments close to home.”
The 26-page report includes projections and estimates of both direct and indirect economic impacts, such as the nearly 3,000 jobs that will be created by several capital improvement projects and the additional tax revenue those projects will generate.
Riverside University Health System was established by the Board of Supervisors, first as a public hospital in downtown Riverside in 1893. The Health System integrated in 2015. It includes the 439-bed Medical Center in Moreno Valley, Behavioral Health, Care Clinics, Medical Center and Public Health. The system serves as the primary public safety net provider for all of Riverside County’s 2.3 million inhabitants.