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Health Care Sector Vibrant in Kankakee County

[Following is the Economic Alliance’s forward to the 2015 edition of THRIVE Health Care Kankakee County magazine.]
By Michael J. Van Mill, MPA, CEcD, AICP
The United States spends more on health care than any other country in the world, at an estimated 17.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, according to Deloitte Development’s “2015 Health Care Providers Outlook.” Moving forward in an increasingly dynamic marketplace, this robust sector faces a number of key issues, including addressing costs of providing care, transitioning to value-based care, adapting to a realigned market, achieving scale, and managing regulation and risk.
Here in Kankakee County, the health care sector also continues to grow and evolve. Our community is fortunate to have two award-winning acute care facilities with Level II emergency/trauma centers to serve our immediate 112,000 population as well as the surrounding rural and Chicago Southland communities. In recent years, Riverside Healthcare and Presence St. Mary’s Hospital each have made investments to expand their respective specialty offerings and attract the world-class physicians required to deliver them. Heart and vascular care, cancer treatment, neuroscience, orthopedics, interventional radiology, stroke treatment, diabetes care/endocrinology and more are all now available at our doorstep.
Enhanced medical services are strong quality of life and economic drivers in our community. Kankakee County has seen steady growth in health care jobs as well as in the physical footprint of our providers. From 2011 to 2014, jobs in this sector among our top employers have increased from 5,952 to 6,183. From 2012-14, Riverside Healthcare’s capital investment in new facilities alone surpassed $120 million. As a community anchor, our health care sector also has a solid tradition of giving back, investing heavily in our schools, our neighborhoods, our human services, our arts & culture landscape.
Kankakee County has formally committed to building on our community’s strong health care foundation well into the future. In 2014, the county’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 2014-19 was certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. In this document, health care is identified as a target sector ripe for continued growth. Given this community’s stellar track record, we expect nothing less than the continued development of next-generation health care delivery models and the emergence of innovative new treatments right here in Kankakee County.
Michael J. Van Mill is President/CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, a public-private partnership that works to create jobs and expand the economic base by improving the local business climate. For more information, phone 815-935-1177 or visit kankakeecountyed.org.
Click here to read THRIVE Health Care Kankakee County.