Medicare covered about half of the patients treated in state hospitals, according to the report. About 400,000 West Virginians -- or 21 percent of the state's population -- is covered by Medicare.
Hospitals also lost about $377 million from federal Medicare payments, and $324 million in low Medicaid and PEIA reimbursement rates in 2009, according to the report.
Medicare currently reimburses state hospitals about 84 percent of the cost to care for a patient, and Medicaid and PEIA reimburse about 73 percent of the cost.
"For every dollar West Virginia spends on Medicaid, the federal government contributes three," the report states.
"When West Virginia receives Medicaid payments, new rounds of spending are promoted, generating new spending and tax revenue for the state. Therefore, cutting Medicaid during an economic downturn, for example, would actually worsen the state economy, as well as reduce access to needed healthcare services for the state's most vulnerable population."
Hospital care is the largest component of the health-care sector, and a growing segment of West Virginia's economy, according to the report.
State hospitals employ about 39,000 people, spend about $2.3 billion in payroll and benefits, and purchase more than $4.7 billion in goods and services in 2009, according to the report -- which estimates the economic impact of state hospital at about $8.4 billion.
"The report illustrates the heart of hospitals and how they care for their communities, but it also shows the tug and pull of hospitals operating as businesses while concurrently keeping compassion for people -- regardless of ability to pay -- as their priority," said Joe Letnaunchyn, the Hospital Association's president, in a prepared statement.
Reach Veronica Nett at veroni...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.