With more than 300 doctors, nearly 1,200 registered nurses and hundreds of other medical professionals, Cape Girardeau's health-care industry is a driving force in the local economy.
The two major hospitals, Saint Francis Medical Center and Southeast Missouri Hospital, have annual payrolls of more than $170 million.
Doctors' offices add another $84 million in payroll to Cape Girardeau's economy.
Each hospital has more than 2,000 employees. Both hospitals have extensive capital programs adding new facilities and new equipment. Some of the specialties practiced by physicians in Cape Girardeau are the envy of cities with much larger populations.
Cape Girardeau's economy tends to be more resilient to up-and-down swings of regional and national trends. That stability is, in turn, attractive to businesses and industries.
Health care in Cape Girardeau -- along with Southeast Missouri State University, major industries, school systems and hundreds of successful businesses -- makes the city a major hub for approximately 400,000 residents in the region. That's an enviable position for any town of any size.