Gainesville-Hall County is a growing regional center of Healthcare Services for over 500,000 people in a 16-county area of Northeast Georgia. Immediate access to healthcare service providers is a benefit to quality of life for area residents, and the concentration of providers in Hall County is a significant source of employment and income.
“Access to world-class healthcare improves the quality of life for residents in Gainesville-Hall County and throughout the region,” said Kit Dunlap, President and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. “The quantity and quality of healthcare services available in Hall County allows area residents to have top-rated care close to their homes, families and friends. Additionally, the indigent care provided by our healthcare providers has an immeasurable impact for our residents in need.”
The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce has completed a visual geographic information system study of 339 Hall County Healthcare Providers by employment with a variety of medical and dental service providers profiled. The study concludes the community’s growing healthcare sector employs 11,520 or approximately 14.6% of the workforce in Hall County. The Georgia Department of Labor reports the average salary for the sector in Hall County is $50,076, implying that healthcare providers in Hall County account for an estimated $575,000,000 in annual payroll.
Nearly 80% of Hall County’s Healthcare employment is concentrated in the City of Gainesville, with 221 healthcare service provider locations employing 9,159 and an estimated $457,000,000 in annual payroll.
The largest provider in the study, Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) in Gainesville with 4,700 employees, is the number #1 rated hospital in Georgia and number #2 in the Nation as rated by CareChex, an independent healthcare quality rating service. The geographic study performed by the Chamber indicates NGMC is at the epicenter of a large community of physicians groups, specialty medical services, dental services, elder care facilities and independent clinics.
“Northeast Georgia Medical Center is a significant economic engine for Gainesville and Hall County,” said Carol Burrell, President and CEO for Northeast Georgia Health System. “According to annual reports produced by the Georgia Hospital Association, NGMC provides an economic impact on our local and state economies that is greater than $1 billion, and we know the majority of that impact is made here in our local community and region. We take that responsibility very seriously – knowing that so many in our community rely not just on the healthcare services we provide, but also on our financial stability and economic stimulus.”
Other major providers by employment in the study include physicians groups such as The Longstreet Clinic, Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic and Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (a physicians group of Northeast Georgia Health System).
The study also highlights other growing concentrations of healthcare service providers in South Hall County, employing nearly 2,000 in Braselton, Oakwood, Flowery Branch and Buford. The new Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton is a fast growing center for healthcare services for residents on the I-85 corridor, and like NGMC in Gainesville, the new hospital is surrounded by a growing number of healthcare providers that have expanded their service coverage from Gainesville, Athens and Gwinnett County.
In 2014, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal created the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative to allow partners involved in training Georgia’s future workforce to hear directly from the private sector about their needs for workforce skills. The initiative included a series of public meetings around the state, including one held at UNG Gainesville with broad participation from area healthcare providers. A December 2014 report from the initiative concluded that healthcare is one of the high-demand career fields anticipated to grow over the next five to ten years in Georgia. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, employment in healthcare services is expected to grow 2.8% per year and add nearly 140,000 jobs across Georgia through 2022. Local institutions like Brenau University, the University of North Georgia and Lanier Technical College play an important role in developing the skilled talent and professional training to fill the growing demand for healthcare professionals.
As part of the Chamber’s study of the healthcare community, it also interviewed developers in Hall County to collect their perspective of the impact of healthcare providers, employment and income on retail and commercial development:
Tim Evans, Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce facilitated the healthcare study, adding, “Quality of life and healthcare is a primary benefit of having a first-class regional healthcare center in Hall County, but there is definitely a halo effect of healthcare employment and income that benefits other commercial, retail and residential development in Hall County.”
Frank Norton, Jr. of Norton Commercial commented, “As Hall County has become North Georgia’s healthcare epic center, the economic impact has rippled across the country’s fabric impacting commercial office space, employment, consumer spending, residential housing, senior healthcare and active adult living communities and professional services. Not since the development of our poultry components in the 1950’s has one business sector had as powerful an impact.”
“Seven minutes,” commented Tim Knight, the developer of the new North Lake Square on Dawsonville Highway. “That’s the drive time from the concentration of healthcare providers in Gainesville to the new North Lake Square development on Dawsonville Highway, and it is well within the lunch hour. Retailers look at the healthcare services in this market as one of the top drivers of income and traffic. It has absolutely had a positive impact on the retail and restaurant growth in Downtown Gainesville, Dawsonville Highway and the New Holland Market.”
Mike McNicholas, the developer of the Kroger-anchored New Holland Market at Limestone and Jesse Jewell Parkways, commented, “A big component of the feasibility of our doing a large-scale retail/multi-use development was, and remains, the tremendous growth in the overall medical community in close proximity. The healthcare providers provide a tremendous boost to the economy through job growth and the incomes from those high-paying skilled jobs.”
In Braselton, real estate professional and Braselton Mayor Pro-Tem Tony Funari added, “The growing healthcare services community in Braselton is providing access to nationally acclaimed healthcare providers and related businesses. This is having a very positive influence in home buying, residential development as well as home values. There is tremendous activity from restaurants, hotels and new services businesses.”
About the Study
The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce performed the study of Healthcare Service Providers by compiling data from various sources, including the Georgia Department of Labor, Businesswise 2015 data and more than 100 coordinating phone calls and emails with Greater Hall Chamber members in the healthcare community to confirm healthcare employment by location. During the course of the study from June until its release in September 2015, numerous healthcare providers opened their doors for the first time, added employment or additional locations throughout Hall County. The Greater Hall Chamber is grateful for the support of the healthcare community in Hall County for their efforts in supporting this study.
About Gainesville-Hall County
Gainesville-Hall County, Georgia is a vibrant and growing community located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Surrounded by beautiful Lake Sidney Lanier, the area offers an unparalleled quality of life and a sound economic future for business and industry. Gainesville-Hall County is home to 47 Fortune 500 firms, more than 300 manufacturing and processing concerns, and 45 international companies representing 19 foreign countries. Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle both call Hall County home.