New Study Reveals Broad Economic Contributions by Wake Forest Baptist in Forsyth County and North Carolina

February 13, 2012

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center delivers extensive economic benefits locally, regionally and statewide and is accelerating growth of the nation’s scientific base of knowledge, innovation and technology, according to an in-depth economic analysis by Battelle Memorial Institute. The report by the world’s largest, nonprofit, independent research and development organization details the many social and economic contributions by Wake Forest Baptist.

The analysis finds that by turning research into new tests and treatments, Wake Forest Baptist is helping create and drive a new technology-based economy in the region. The Battelle report says Wake Forest Baptist represents one of North Carolina’s preeminent institutions for participation and growth in the life-science economy and its importance is expanding given the rising status of life sciences as the driver of U.S. economic progress today and in the future.

Overall, the report reveals the operations of Wake Forest Baptist contributed more than $3.8 billion in direct and indirect economic benefits to Forsyth County, the region and North Carolina in FY2011 by providing thousands of jobs, state-of-the-art health care, pioneering medical research, commercialization of intellectual property and tax dollars.

The Battelle report says Wake Forest Baptist is an exceptional economic asset for North Carolina and generates nearly $1.76 in county revenue for every $1 it spends in Forsyth County.

“The Battelle findings show Wake Forest Baptist is a highly productive and influential biomedical health science research and development institution in the U.S. and internationally while delivering major social and economic benefits in Forsyth County, the state and beyond,” said John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist. “The report not only quantifies these benefits and impacts, but it also examines the depths of these contributions throughout the community and the state. And it reveals that Wake Forest Baptist has made the right choices for continued leadership in science and technology innovation, a key industry cluster of the state’s economy.”

The report finds the state benefits from not only the institution’s widespread expenditure impacts but from the functional impacts of Wake Forest Baptist’s health care, research, education and community outreach missions. The report breaks down the direct and indirect financial impact and benefits of Wake Forest Baptist’s operations by county, service area and state.

The direct and indirect economic impact of Wake Forest Baptist’s operations in FY2011 supported a total of 30,608 jobs statewide. The institution and related workforce received nearly $1.8 billion in wages and benefits that same year. Total federal tax revenue generated was nearly $335.3 million. State and local tax revenue generated was more than $161.6 million.

Battelle shows Wake Forest Baptist is a significant social safety net for underinsured and uninsured citizens. In FY2011, the Medical Center provided $61.8 million in charity care, higher than the $25.4 million averagefor teaching hospitals. Additional community benefits provided include the unpaid proportion of Medicare, which cost $68.1 million in FY2011 and bad debt incurred totaled $25.6 million. 

Overall key findings from the Battelle Report include:

?    Wake Forest Baptist is a national and international research and education leader

?    Wake Forest Baptist is the state’s top leader in commercialization of research and development of intellectual property among academic medical centers

?    Wake Forest Baptist provides leading edge care while working on the frontlines of biomedical research, pioneering new fields of medicine and bringing North Carolinians state-of-the-art high-value medical care and clinical trials

?    Wake Forest Baptist is a major driver of overall labor and employment in NC

?    North Carolina benefits from not only the institution’s widespread expenditures but from the functional impacts of Wake Forest Baptist’s health care, research, education and community outreach missions

?   Fifteen companies have been started by Wake Forest Baptist in the past five years. The institution has a strong commitment to moving its biomedical discoveries and breakthroughs from the “lab bench to the bedside” and has started 22 different companies since the year 2000. Sixteen of those companies are operating today with 12 in North Carolina where most start-ups remain.

?   Construction of the Research Park and the life sciences and technology-based businesses it attracts will have a transformativeimpact on the city and county economy.The ongoing development there is a major catalyst for regional economic development and is a match to emerging trends and preferences in decisions about where to locate bioscience businesses.

?    The institution’s focus on development of concentrated centers of research and translational science excellence, such as the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), are the right choices and will drive further development and opportunity for transformational discoveries

?      Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is empowering the next generation of research scientists, clinicians and health care professionals through a major commitment to higher education, and these graduates earn higher than average salaries of graduates overall

?    Education and workforce development initiatives at Wake Forest Baptist together with complementary initiatives in partnership with other institutions including Winston-Salem State University, Virginia Tech and others will be increasingly important to meeting the bioscience business workforce needs of the region and Research Park tenants.

Overall, the Battelle Memorial Institute report states Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is an exceptional asset for North Carolina, is well-positioned for continued leadership in the science and technology-driven 21st century economy, and the state and region are likely to see significant further impacts and benefits from the institution in the future.

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Paula Faria:, 336-716-1279

Chad Campbell:, 336-713-4587