A recent visit by VA Roseburg Healthcare System Director Carol Bogedain reminded us how important the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center is to our local economy.
Bogedain said the current budget for the veterans’ facility is nearly $139 million and that $79 million of that is payroll.
She said 760 of the system’s 900 employees work on the Roseburg campus. Others work at the clinics in Eugene, North Bend and Brookings.
“Any care we purchase in the community is also paid out of the $139 million,” Bogedain explained. “Last year we purchased approximately $28 million of care throughout our entire catchment area.”
She said that included inpatient and intensive care unit care, emergency services, and specialty procedures such as radiation treatment.
The VA hospital’s economic impact can be measured in three ways:
Direct impact, or the spending done by the facility in the local business community in terms of inventory, utilities, equipment and pay to employees.
Indirect impact, or the conventional multiplier that happens as the dollars the VA center spends at other local businesses re-circulate.
Induced impact, or the payroll that benefits the local economy through purchases made by employees and their families as well as through other factors, including bank deposits.
In other words, a good chunk of that $79 million earned each year by the nearly 800 VA Roseburg workers is circulated throughout the community, helping to support our local shops, restaurants, auto dealers, real estate companies and other businesses.
And that is an attention-getter in a community that still has double-digit unemployment and a low median household income.
We’d also guess that the facility benefits area businesses through the visitors and their families who come to Roseburg for treatment, often eating at area restaurants, shopping at local grocers and filling up at local gas stations.
The VA hospital is also in the midst of some significant construction, which is likely benefitting some local businesses in terms of landscaping, paving, electrical work, paint, plumbing and myriad other trade-related work that has been in short supply since new home construction came to a virtual standstill a few years ago.
With a history that dates back to the Oregon State Soldiers’ Home — created to “provide a home for honorably discharged soldiers, sailors and Marines” — the VA campus has been a central point for Roseburg since 1893.
It’s easy — after 120 years — to take an institution like that for granted and it’s a good idea to pause every once in awhile to take stock of one of our greatest community assets.