S.D.’s Community Health Centers’ economic impact tops $91 million

South Dakota’s four Community Health Centers (CHCs) accounted for over $91 million

in economic output in 2018, according to a new study prepared for the Community HealthCare

Association of the Dakotas (CHAD) by the Black Hills Knowledge Network.

The report highlights that South Dakota health centers made 966 jobs possible across the state, including 522 full-time jobs for South Dakotans who were employed directly by health centers in the growing healthcare field.

“We know that community health centers make vital contributions to the personal and community health of South Dakotans, but today’s report underscores that they also have an impact on the economic health of the communities they serve,” said Shelly Ten Napel, chief executive officer CHAD, Sioux Falls. “From our ranch and farm lands, to the urban areas of Rapid City to Sioux Falls, CHCs bring jobs and economic vitality to South Dakota.”

Health care is crucial to a town’s ability to recruit new companies and maintain a healthy workforce. Local health care can serve as a main street anchor, keeping other small businesses viable. Local health care in our rural communities helps workers avoid long out-of-town trips to see the doctor and it keeps folks coming to town for health care and other goods and services they need. Local health care also helps small town nursing homes and community-based services for the elderly remain feasible, so people have the option of aging near life-long friends and family.

Last year, South Dakota CHCs provided high-quality, cost-effective, and integrated care to more than 67,800 individuals at 42 delivery sites in 33 communities. Services provided include medical, dental, behavioral health and school-based care. One out of 13 South Dakota residents receive care at a CHC. Health centers provide healthcare to all residents regardless of ability to pay, making health services affordable for everyone who needs them.

The economic impact of the four CHCs with sites across the state include:

• Rural Health Care, Inc., Fort Pierre -- $20,798,213

• Horizon Health Care, Howard -- $42,701,199

• Community Health Center of the Black Hills, Rapid City -- $13,583,029

• Falls Community Health, Sioux Falls -- $14,733,574

Jim Hardwick is the chief executive officer for Rural Health Care, Inc. in Fort Pierre (Oahe Valley Health Center). John Mengenhausen is the chief executive officer for Horizon Health Care in Howard.

CHCs also support job creation, both by directly employing the equivalent of 522 full time jobs and through indirectly supporting 444 additional jobs in other industries, for a total impact of 966 jobs in the state. “Nearly 1000 jobs, including over 500 in a growing industry like health care, adds up to a real impact,” said Ten Napel. “Health Centers employ hundreds of South Dakotans, and we help keep many more healthy and on the job across the state.”

The Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas (CHAD) is a 501(c)3 membership organization serving as the Primary Care Association for North Dakota and South Dakota. Our mission is to foster healthy communities by promoting and supporting programs that increase access to affordable, high-quality healthcare for all Dakotans. CHAD supports nine community health centers in North Dakota and South Dakota through training, technical assistance and advocacy. CHAD has supported the efforts of community health centers, which offer a unique model of high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centered primary care, for nearly 30 years. To learn more, visit www.communityhealthcare.net.