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Study shows job creation, tax revenues at LECOM

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  • | 4:00 a.m. June 25, 2014
LECOM boosted the Bradenton economy by $91 million. Photo by Amanda Sebastiano
LECOM boosted the Bradenton economy by $91 million. Photo by Amanda Sebastiano
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EAST COUNTY — Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Bradenton is the most beautiful college campus Paul Umbach has ever seen.

But, there’s more to the campus than the building’s unique design and placement of palm trees near the school’s main entrance. It’s a community moneymaker.

Through an economic impact analysis completed in 2013, Umbach and his consulting firm, Tripp Umbach — a company that offers research, strategic planning and economic impact analysis for medical schools, nonprofit organizations and other corporations — found that LECOM has significantly impacted the economies of the communities that house its campuses.

Via a videoconference from LECOM’s main campus in Erie, Pa., June 19, Umbach and Michael Visnosky, chairman of the LECOM Board of Trustees, delivered the results of the analysis.

The firm surveyed the school’s campuses in Bradenton and Erie and Greensburg, Pa. It considered job creation and revenues generated from the schools when studying the medical schools’ economic impact. Impact numbers have increased since Tripp Umbach conducted the last survey for the school in 2009.

LECOM has spent $35.2 million on construction projects at its Bradenton campus, including construction of its School of Dental Medicine, during the last five years. The projects led to the creation of 383 new jobs and $54.6 million in local economic activity, the survey said.

“LECOM is an anchor for its communities through job creation, generation of tax revenues and construction and renovation projects,” Umbach said.

The new school also contributed to LECOM’s economic impact on the county, which totaled more than $90.9 million in payroll taxes and other capital spending, Umbach said.

Local government revenue generated as a result of local LECOM operations has increased 200% since 2009, bringing the total impact to $3.6 million.

Umbach sees the trend as continuous and long lasting.

“Since 2009, LECOM has added permanent employee opportunities. The college supports and sustains jobs,” Umbach said. “LECOM’s impact on Bradenton’s economy has doubled from $42.7 million to $90.9 million.”

The survey also credits the boost to direct and indirect factors.

“Direct impact is students adding to the economy through renting places to live, going out to eat and shopping,” said Michael Polin, LECOM spokesman. “Prospective students who come in for interviews are also staying at hotels and eating at restaurants. The same holds true for commencement and white coat ceremonies, where out-of-town guests are staying at hotels and eating at local restaurants. Indirect would be the community service our students participate in.”

On a national scale, LECOM contributed $593 million to the economy in 2013, an increase of 80% from the $328.8 million recorded in 2009.

Numbers also reflect $63.9 million in national health care cost savings because LECOM graduates work in practices in underserved areas, the survey cites.

LECOM is establishing a group practice run by students in DeFuniak Springs to provide affordable health care. Umbach predicts the addition will further contribute to health care savings.

The survey aligns with LECOM’s mission to educate the next generation of medical professionals to open practices in underserved areas, said Dr. Robert George, associate dean for LECOM’s College of Medicine.

“The study represents a full cycle for LECOM graduates,” George said. “They study here and come back to work here, or go somewhere else where the need is great. The more money we can generate and contribute to the community, the more it shows there’s a purpose that needs to be fulfilled. We fulfill that need.”

Community Benefits
Tripp Umbach estimates that LECOM employees, residents, physicians and medical students who received their training at LECOM campuses generate more than $2.6 million annually in charitable donations, volunteer services and provision of free care throughout the area. These benefits include the following:

MHS provided care to residents of the Greater Erie Area for which it did not receive full compensation. Nationally, academic medical centers provide the majority of uncompensated care.

LECOM and MHS physicians, faculty, and staff donated $1.4 million to local charitable organizations.
LECOM physicians, faculty, and staff provide thousands of hours of volunteer services. The economic value of such services is estimated at more than $702,000 annually.

LECOM medical students and MCH residents also provide benefits to local charities. It is estimated that the students and residents donate more than $557,000 to charities through both volunteer activities and monetary donations.

By the numbers
1,300 - the number of pharmacists who have graduated from LECOM’s campuses nationwide, as of 2013

3,800 - the number of osteopathic medicine doctor graduates from LECOM, as of 2013

35 million — the number of dollars spent on construction renovations at the Bradenton campus

Contact Amanda Sebastiano at [email protected]



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