Lucas Presson

Lucas Presson is the assistant publisher of the Southeast Missourian.

Health care continues to be major economic driver in Southeast Missouri

Doctors' Park in Cape Girardeau began as a 20-acre development in 1971. It has since expanded south, covering nearly 80 acres.
B Magazine file

Health care is a major economic driver for our regional economy.

According to city-data.com, health care and social assistance ranks as the top industry in Cape Girardeau County.

Saint Francis Health Care and SoutheastHEALTH continue to be two of the top employers. Add in the new Southeast Behavioral Health Hospital, Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center and tertiary services, as well as Doctors' Park, and you can really see the employment impact.

Th­ere are also other related economic benefits with health care workers and those traveling here for services spending money in our local restaurants and retail establishments.

While rural Southeast Missouri does have a number of health care providers, Cape Girardeau remains the largest provider for care between St. Louis and Memphis. Among other reasons, this helped Cape Girardeau County stand out among many other towns in the area during the last Census.

Many small communities saw a drop in population over the last 10 years. Some, such as Butler County, saw only incremental losses of less than 2%. Others saw more substantial hits.

Cape Girardeau County, meanwhile, grew by 8%.

Though some believe that growth could have been much stronger — and it certainly could have been — it was still growth. There’s no question that health care played an important role as the hospitals and related operations continue to recruit top talent to the area, expand service offerings and spur economic activity.

In this edition of B Magazine, we take a look at health care in Southeast Missouri.

There’s an interview with six new faces at local hospitals and why they chose to work here.

We look at food scarcity and how local businesses, churches and other organizations are working to address the challenge.

The Cape Girardeau SportsPlex continues to flourish, with the facility regularly staying busy hosting local and regional events. And now the sportsplex has reached an important milestone: 100% operations cost recovery.

A local financial advisor talks about why she’s taken a special interest in lifestyle medicine.

SoutheastHEALTH’s Ken Bateman talks about his goal to partner with a larger system, which would provide his organization and the region new opportunities in years to come.

And there’s plenty more. We hope you’ll continue reading and hopefully gain some insight on the impact of health care in Southeast Missouri.

Lucas Presson is the publisher of B Magazine and assistant publisher of the Southeast Missourian.