Hospitals in Connecticut employ 97,000 people and contribute a total of $17.6 billion to state and local economies, according to a report by the Connecticut Hospital Association released Monday.

The report breaks those contributions down by annual payroll payments, $9.5 billion, goods and services purchased, $6.8 billion, and hospital capital spending which it said amounted to $1.3 billion.

“Hospitals make major contributions to both the economic health and quality of life of communities throughout Connecticut,” said Jennifer Jackson, CHA President and CEO. “Everyone knows that hospitals are always there when you need them, but few realize the tremendous contribution hospitals make to the state’s economy and to the financial well-being of our local communities.  The major economic role played by hospitals has taken on even more importance given the state’s need for more jobs and strong economic development during these uncertain financial times.”

Hospitals spend around $8.6 billion on staff salaries and the procurement of food and medical supplies as well as construction, it said. The money creates a “ripple effect” as it moves through the economy, it said.

But the proposed state budget recommends cutting $83 million in funds to hospitals, which jeopardizes the economic activity and would cause the state to lose $41 million in matching federal funds, the report said.

“By making a cut of this magnitude, Connecticut would lose $176 million in business activity, 1,417 jobs, and $63 million in salary and wages – this cut is wrong for hospitals and wrong for Connecticut,” Jackson said in a prepared statement. “We ask that members of the legislature say no to hospital cuts and taxes.  The Connecticut hospital community is committed to working with the legislature and the Malloy administration to find solutions that make it possible for Connecticut hospitals to remain strong and viable in their role as Connecticut’s healthcare safety net.”

-Click here to read the report