Georgia hospitals contributed $43.6 billion to the state’s economy in 2014, employing more than 160,000 people and indirectly supporting more than 364,000 jobs, according to a study released last week by the Georgia Hospital Association. Despite these contributions, the state’s hospitals continue to face unprecedented financial challenges, the report notes. Since the beginning of 2013, five Georgia hospitals have closed and others are struggling to keep their doors open, especially in rural areas. “Georgia’s economic recovery hasn’t made a difference for hospitals in terms of uncompensated care,” said GHA President and CEO Earl Rogers. “We still have hundreds of thousands of Georgians who have no health care insurance and their only access to health care services is the hospital emergency room. For hospitals, that’s a recipe for disaster." The state has not expanded Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act.