Holly Fletcher | The Tennessean

The health care industry deepened its roots in the Nashville area as well as its national reach since 2010.

Health care contributed $38.8 billion to the regional economy in 2014, up more than $8 billion since a similar study five years ago, according to a study by the Nashville Health Care Council and the Business and Economic Research Center at Middle Tennessee State University.

There are 249,345 people employed in the industry in 2014, up by nearly 50,000 from the 2010 report. The study looked at Davidson County as well as Cannon, Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Wilson and Williamson counties.

The industry is an economic engine for the midstate.

Health care is truly the linchpin in Middle Tennessee’s economy, said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. And it’s only growing.

Over the last eight years as mayor I’ve had the pleasure of watching Nashville evolve into one of the most vibrant, prosperous cities… Some have taken to calling us the ‘it city.’ If that’s the case, perhaps no sector in our economy has played a bigger role in turning us into the ‘it city’ by attracting young professionals and encouraging entrepreneurs and creating a prosperous and desirable place to live than the health care industry.”

There are nearly 400 health care companies with operations in the Nashville area while with another 400 professional service firms supporting those companies, according to the Nashville Health Care Council.

Local concentration, national reach

There are 15 major publicly traded companies that are based in the area, including three of the five largest investor-owned hospital operators.

Community Health Systems, HCA and LifePoint Health together control more than one-third of the investor owned hospitals across the country.

Globally, members of the Nashville Health Care Council employee more than 628,000 people with a total revenue of $144 billion.

(The reach) goes well beyond the state’s borders and even on an international level. What stood out to me the most… was the direct impact that could be traced directly back to members of the Nashville Health Care Council, said Bill Gracey, CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. People know this is where important health care conversations take place.

Nashville is a destination for companies that want to work with hospital operators as well as initiatives to improve health care.

The leaders of the three hospital giants along with the leaders of Saint Thomas Health and Vanderbilt University Medical Center banded together earlier this year in an initiative advocating for “plug-and-play” hospital technology — a move that underscores the importance of integrated technology.

Dean said the relationship between the industry and the city will continue to promote the success of Nashville as well as driving innovation and serving has a connecting point for the world’s health care minds.

Nationally, health care is set for job growth.

An aging population and changes to how Americans receive medical care from third party and federal reforms will increase the number of people who work in the sector.

By 2022, one in six new jobs will be in health care across the country. In Tennessee, health care will account for one in every 11 new jobs.

http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/industries/health-care/2015/08/18/how-big-health-cares-economic-impact-nashville-388b/31564125/