Two nationally-recognized medical centers deliver top quality health care in the city: Memorial University Medical Center and the St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System.
The regional health care sector continues to be a stalwart of economic consistency and growth since 2007. In fact, this sector is resistant to cyclical downturns and experienced a slight job loss of less than 1% during the Great Recession while the rest of the regional economy shed 8% of its workforce. Since 2007, growth in health services exceeded overall regional employment and health services now employs 22,500 workers. The health sector continues to be a vital component of the area’s economy and growth prospects are good in the short and long run.
Two nationally-recognized medical centers deliver top quality health care in the city: Memorial University Medical Center and the St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System. These centers, and the advanced medical specialties they offer, attract people from all over southeast Georgia and the southern coastal area of South Carolina. The medical facilities are also the top two private non-manufacturing employers in the metropolitan area.
Ambulatory health care services accounted for an estimated $1.6 billion of personal income in the Savannah MSA in 2017 or 8.8% of total regional output. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, Candler Hospital Inc. and Savannah Health Services, LLC are ranked as two of ten largest employers in the Savannah MSA as of the second quarter of 2018.
St. Joseph’s/Candler health care system continues to expand its portfolio of medical facilities in the region. Phase I of the $62 million campus in Pooler is expected to open in March 2019. Additionally, groundbreaking of a four-acre campus of medical facilities is planned for Bluffton, SC in 2019. The $22 million project will be constructed over six years. The project will consolidate services currently provided in various locations and create space for the expansion of healthcare service offerings.
Final closing of the sale of Memorial University Medical Center to HCA occurred in early 2018. The agreement is valued at approximately $710 million and includes $456 million to purchase the assets of Memorial and assume its debt. Memorial is the largest provider of healthcare in the southeast region of Georgia with about 4,600 employees including 65 physicians and a 612- bed academic hospital. Since Memorial University Medical Center integrated with HCA, letters of intent have been filed to plan for a $32 million renovation to its Heart & Vascular Institute tower and a $35 million expansion of the Willett Children’s Hospital. Memorial Health also opened its refurbished 26-bed adult in-patient Behavioral Health Services Center in early 2019.
In early 2019, Georgia Southern University opened a new $24 million building in Savannah to house the Waters College of Health Professions. The project was designed to provide health professions students with cutting-edge technology in a collaborative environment characteristic of contemporary health care services delivery. St. Joseph’s/Candler healthcare contributed funds for a nursing suite in the facility.