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Survey shows UNHS stronger than ever and growing - Medically Speaking, Volume Two, Number One, 7/17/14

A recent economic impact survey, conducted by Capital Link, verifies once again that Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. continues to be one of the most robust, economically viable organizations in San Juan County.

According to the survey, UNHS contributes a total economic impact of $40,407,544 to the local economy, including a direct impact of $21,627,673 and an indirect impact of $18,779,871. UNHS also contributes more than $4.6 million in total tax revenues. This includes $1.6 million in state and local tax revenues, and $3 million in federal tax revenues.

Now in its fourteenth year of serving the healthcare needs of residents in the central and southern portions of San Juan County, UNHS supports 197 full-time employees, 58 part-time employees and 35 contractors for a total of 290 employees. It also supports 155 jobs in other industries throughout San Juan Coun-ty. It's four Community Health Centers in Blanding, Montezuma Creek, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain, offered 69,987 patient encounters in 2013 to 12,875 patients.

"Community health centers provide high quality, cost-effective, patient-centered care to vulnerable populations," the Capital Link survey summary explains. "CHCs serve 1 in 7 Medicaid beneficiaries, almost 1 in 3 individuals in poverty, and 1 in 5 low-income, uninsured persons. Nationally, two-thirds of health center patients are members of racial or ethnic minorities, which places CHCs at the center of the national effort to reduce racial disparities in health care.

"Recent studies show that, on average, each patient receiving care at a CHC saved the health care system 24%, annually. With 12,875 patients served by Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. in 2013, the estimated annual savings is $16 million at $1,263 saved per patient," the summary continues.

It should be mentioned that UNHS Community Health Centers will see any person, regardless of ethnicity or ability to pay.

As Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. continues to grow, its expenditures and corresponding economic impact also grow. The table below summarizes the 2013 economic impact of UNHS on San Juan County, where unemployment is between 7-9%. Unemployment on the Navajo Nation is estimated to be 40%. With the jobs UNHS is creating, it is making a significant impact in the community's quality of life, not only by improving healthcare, but in creating jobs.

Summary of 2013 Total Economic Activity

Stimulated by Current Operations of Utah Navajo Health System, Inc.

Economic Impact (incl. Value-Added)

Direct $21,627,673

Indirect $4,244,877

Induced $11,427,236

Total $40,407,544

Value-Added (incl. personal income)

Direct $11,665,902

Indirect $4,244,877

Induced $6,725,184

Total $22,635,963

Employment (# of FTEs)

Direct 196.6

Indirect 58.9

Induced 96.3

Total 351.8

Direct # of FTEs (employment) based on HRSA 2013 UDS data provided by the health center.

Michael Jensen, who was recently advanced from "interim CEO" of UNHS to permanent CEO, said he's excited about the role UNHS is playing in the delivery of health care to the residents of San Juan County. He said he's also excited about the growth that is happening within the organization. According to Jensen, UNHS has recently hired four new medical providers, who will soon be working at the Montezuma Creek Community Health Center.

These new providers include Dr. Feliz Smith, who has been working in Tuba City, Arizona. Dr. Smith will join UNHS in August. PA-C Jesse Moses is a Blanding native who is expected to be onboard in July. NP Marcy Meiers will also be onboard in July. Dr. France Nielson DDS, another Blanding native, joined the UNHS Dental team at Montezuma Creek in June. Pauline Linhart DDS, also joined the Dental staff in July. Still another provider, Shyrlan Beck PA-C, will join UNHS in September.

Jensen also announced that UNHS will be advertising to hire a full-time, 'walk-in' provider to work in some of the clinic sites.

"Our objective is to reduce the wait times," Jensen said. "This provider will see the less emergent, less chronic patients; the children with colds and the flu that need to see a provider, but mom does not want to wait a long time. The more severe or chronic cases will still see their provider."

Along with the new personnel, UNHS negotiated with San Juan County to begin its own EMS service last December, with two ambulances from the coun-ty, two additional purchased ambulances, and one additional first-responder vehicle. These additional ambu- lances have already made huge difference in the response time of EMT's to patients in the southern part of San Juan County. Ambulances are located in Montezuma Creek and Monument Valley, where a new ambulance garage was outfitted at the end of last year. Construction is now underway on a new 6,000 square-foot ambulance garage in Montezuma Creek. This garage will also house office space for UNHS EMS personnel, when it is finished later this year. UNHS personnel have conducted EMS classes to increase the number of EMT's available, and new courses will be held in the future.

In addition, Jensen said UNHS has acquired twelve new vehicles for its fleet, replacing older, high-mileage vehicles. This brings the total number of vehicles in the fleet to nearly sixty.

Along with medical and dental care, UNHS features an experienced team of behavioral health providers, who serve patients throughout the county. UNHS even offers transportation services for patients who need assistance traveling to and from appointments at the various UNHS clinics.

In short, UNHS has become the leading healthcare organization in San Juan County, providing residents with quality medical and dental treatment, mental health counseling, EMS services and transportation services when needed. The organization provides an abundance of employment, economic benefits and tax revenues to San Juan County, as evidenced by the recent Capital Link survey, and more than fourteen years of service to the people of this area.

All signs, including the Capital Link survey, indicate that UNHS will continue to be the major healthcare organization and significant economic contributor to southeastern Utah for years to come.

Editor's Note: Capital Link is a non-profit organization that has worked with hundreds of health centers and Primary Care Associations over the past 15 years to plan capital projects, finance growth and identify ways to improve performance.

ECONOMIC IMPACT DEFINITION OF TERMS

This analysis applies the "multiplier effect," using an integrated economic modeling and planning tool called IMPLAN (IMpact analysis for PLANning) to capture the direct, indirect, and induced economic effects of an organization's business operations. IMPLAN was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota IMPLAN Group (MIG) and employs multipliers, specific to each county and each industrial sector, to determine total output, employment, and earnings. This analysis was conducted using Implan Version 3, Trade Flows Model.

Output Multiplier: measures the increase in total output generated in a defined regional economy for each dollar spent by a given industry.

Value-added (Earnings) Multiplier: measures the earnings (purchasing power) that an industry generates, through payroll and the multiplier effect, for households employed by all industries within a defined area.

Employment Multiplier: measures the number of jobs generated across all industries by the activity within a given industry. The multiplier produces an estimate of the total number of new jobs that a local economy can support in all industries due to the dollars being injected into the community by the organization.

IMPLAN's output, earnings, and employment figures are aggregated based on:

• Direct effects: (in this case Total Operating Expenditures of health centers).

• Indirect effects: This means any purchases made by other businesses that received the Total direct operating expenditures as income.

• Induced effects: This effect is relating to the employees of the direct and indirect organizations and businesses and the fact that they then spend money within the economy, which also generates an impact.

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