Economist’s presentation notes Thibodaux Regional as an ‘economic powerhouse’

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Yesterday evening, Dr. Loren Scott, an acclaimed Louisiana economist and LSU Professor Emeritus, presented findings on the impact Thibodaux Regional Health System (TRHS) has on the area, calling it an “economic powerhouse” that provides jobs and immense tax benefits to local governments.   


Inside the Wellness Center’s conference room, the audience, consisting of local prominent figures, listened as Scott laid out the details of his report, highlighting several positive economic achievements of the facility. 


In his study, Scott details the impact of three key drivers of TRHS on the City of Thibodaux and Lafourche Parish economies: capital spending since 1990, operational spending in 1990 versus 2020 and physician recruitment impact.  


“Since 1990, TRHS has embarked on a very impressive level of expansion, spending over $432.3 million over the past 31 years, or almost $14 million per year,” reads the report.


According to Scott, the capital spending over that time period created over $555 million in new business sales in the parish; almost $113 million in new household earnings for parish residents, an average of 86 new jobs a year, with a peak of 221 jobs in 2020; and over $5 million in additional revenues for local governments in the parish.


For operational spending, Scott’s research found that in 2020, TRHS had an annual payroll including benefits of $90.6 million for 1,269 employees. 


Operational spending by TRHS in 2020 created $150.6 million in sales at businesses in the parish; $127.5 million in household earnings for Parish residents; 2,192 jobs in the parish; and $8,690,427 in local government revenues from sales and property taxes and other fees, according to the findings. 


“About 6.4% of total employment in Lafourche Parish; One of every 16 jobs in the Parish can be traced back to operational spending by Thibodaux Regional in 2020,” the report reads. “Job multiplier of 1.73; that is, for every new job created at Thibodaux Regional, 0.73 jobs are created elsewhere in the Lafourche Parish economy via the multiplier effect just by the hospital’s operational spending.” 


The $8,690,427 in local government is equivalent to 10.8 percent of total sales tax collections in Lafourche, Scott noted, and equivalent to about two-thirds of all sales taxes collected by the City of Thibodaux. 


Physician recruitment had another significant impact on the local economy. 


“Thibodaux Regional has been very active in bringing the most advanced medical technology to Thibodaux and the region,” the report reads. “Availability of these very advanced treatment systems along with a culture of excellence have enabled Thibodaux Regional to recruit 143 doctors.”


The impacts of the recruited physicians and their staffs in 2020 includes: $18.3 million in additional business sales in Lafourche; $45.6 million in new household earnings for parish residents; 684 new jobs in the parish; and $2.1 million in additional revenues for local governments in the parish, the research states. 


The combined impact of all three key drivers in 2020 is estimated to be $226.2 million in sales in Lafourche; $184.7 million in household earnings for parish residents; 3,097 jobs in the parish; and $11.3 million in taxes for local governments in the parish, according to the report. 


Scott’s research also highlighted that the $11.3 million equivalent to 83 percent of total sales taxes collected by the City Thibodaux in 2019; the hospital’s direct sales taxes to the City of Thibodaux increased to nearly $1.8 million due to Thibodaux Regional’s recent transition to 501(c)3 status; and of the $11.3 milion in local government revenues generated in 2020, roughly two-thirds — $7.5 million — accrued to the City of Thibodaux. 


During the presentation, Scott called Thibodaux Regional’s growth since 1990 “phenomenal,” and said it’s rare to see from a facility in a smaller community. “This is really a shining star that you have here,” he said, before adding how the innovation at TRHS attracts quality doctors.


“We felt that the economic impact of the hospital and the doctors, it was a strong one, but honestly, the numbers are a little bit surprising,” said Greg Stock, Thibodaux Regional Health System CEO, after the presentation. “Hospitals are complicated places. It takes a lot of high quality, highly-trained technical staff to do a lot of things; we interact a lot with technology, complicated procedures and things.” 


Stock also expressed that the TRHS has grown tremendously over the years and continues to grow, noting the total increase in wages and salaries since he joined the hospital. 


“We understand that you don’t do these things alone. It takes a community of lots of people, lots of different organizations to be successful,” he said. “We are so grateful for the support we felt from the communities we serve.” 


About 60 percent of Thibodaux Regional’s patients come from outside the area, Stock also noted. 


The CEO also touched on the importance of bringing jobs to the area. “The oil and gas industry has kind of been hit hard, it seems to me, and that concerns us all because it’s a very important part of our economy,” he said. “The universities have been hit with budget reductions, and we have too.” 


“But what we do is we have a vision and a plan. Over the years, we have sustained that method of approaching things: we think we can win, we think we can do things as well as anybody,” he continued. “Quality speaks loudly, and patient experience speaks loudly. And we run an efficient hospital.” 


Stock went on to highlight other attributes of the hospital, such as its innovation, earning a 5-star rating, having no debt and being nationally award-winning, 


He continued: “All of those things have enabled us to grow and to attract quality people…It’s been a pleasure. We just have quality people here who make all the difference.”