Nothing is more important to people than health care. Medicare and Medicaid are the subject of regular news stories, and their future in the government financing priorities causes worries.

It is safe to say that health care by hospitals in Missouri is available to nearly everyone. Yes, there are cases where problems have occurred in access to health care, but overall, generally speaking, people have access to health care, especially at hospitals.

The latest figures that have been released by the Missouri Hospital Association show that in 2017 Missouri hospitals provided more than $1.4 billion in uncompensated care. Also, in total community benefits, hospitals had a $3.3 billion impact statewide.

In many communities, the hospital is the largest employer, which is the case in the Washington area with Mercy Hospital Washington employment. The economic impact on the area communities is substantial!

The health care given by a hospital is well known, but the uncompensated care given and total economic impact on an area are not commonly known. It’s an untold story. The figures released by the state association for hospitals points to a hospital’s value to people in a community.

The Missouri Hospital Association said hospitals provide a “powerful financial boost to the communities they serve, where they often are the largest employer. In addition, hospitals must invest in their infrastructure to ensure the highest quality care and patient satisfaction. These investments underpin the economy of cities, small and large, providing support for families and businesses throughout the state.”

Too often people take their hospital for granted. We should be thankful we have an excellent hospital. It is one of our most valuable assets.