SIOUX FALLS — 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 also highlighted the fact 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 and vibrant health care 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,” says Shelly Ten Napel, CEO of CHAD. “From our ranch and farm lands, across Native American communities, 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 over 67,800 individuals at 42 delivery sites in 33 communities. Services provided included medical, dental, behavioral health and school-based care. 1 out of 13 South Dakota residents receive care at a CHC. Health centers provide health care 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:

• Community Health Center of the Black Hills — $13,583,029

• Falls Community Health — $14,733,574

• Horizon Health Care — $42,701,199

• Rural Health Care, Inc. — $20,798,213

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,” asserts Ten Napel. “Health Centers employ hundreds of South Dakotans, and we help keep many more healthy and on the job across the state.”

The study, “Economic Impacts of Community Health Centers in North Dakota and South Dakota,” was authored by Dr. Jared McEntaffer with the Black Hills Knowledge Network.

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