Healthcare Services

Healthcare Services

West Plains’ labor shed has a tremendous healthcare workforce with a large portion of it specialized at Adult Healthcare Services. The industry posted a 2017 total demand of over $526 million of which only 46.7% or $246 million was met within region, leaving a potential 53.2% or $280 million worth of business opportunity in this targeted industry sector.

The following healthcare services are current market-based opportunities for potential providers:

  • 90% of the demand for Mental Health Specialists is being met outside our labor shed
  • 82% of the demand for Diagnostic Imaging Centers is being met outside our labor shed
  • 71% of the demand for Outpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers is being met outside our labor shed
  • 68% of the demand for Offices of Podiatrists is being met outside our labor shed
  • 59% of the demand for Kidney Dialysis Centers is being met outside our labor shed
  • 53% of the demand for Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly is being met outside our labor shed
  • 53% of the demand for Residential Metal Health and Substance Abuse Facilities is being met outside our labor shed
  • 52% of the demand for Continuing Care Retirement Communities is being met outside our labor shed

Our Existing Healthcare Cluster:

  • Air Evac EMS, Inc. is the largest independently owned air medical service in the United States
  • Ozarks Medical Center serves an 11-County region in south central Missouri and north central Arkansas
  • Air Medcare Network Inc.
  • Texas County Memorial Hospital
  • Oxford Healthcare-Home Care & Hospice
  • West Vue, Inc.
  • Ozark Independent Living

Number of healthcare operations

  • 611 Services for Elderly and Persons with Disabilities
  • 68 Offices of Physicians
  • 38 Pharmacies and Drug Stores
  • 29 Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • 27 Offices of Dentists
  • 23 Offices of Chiropractors
  • 18 Home Health Care Services
  • 13 Offices of Optometrists
  • 7 Residential Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities
  • 5 Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly
  • 4 Home Health Equipment Rentals
  • 3 Freestanding Ambulatory Surgical and Emergency Centers
  • 3 General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • 2 Local Government Hospitals

Skilled Workforce

West Plains’ labor shed boasts sizeable skilled workers in several healthcare areas with specialization in adult/elderly healthcare:

  • 1706 jobs in Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • 1222 people employed in Services for Elderly and Persons with Disabilities
  • 762 jobs in General & Surgical Hospitals
  • 733 jobs in Offices of Physicians
  • 497 jobs in Home Health Care Services
  • 462 jobs in Local Government Hospitals
  • 299 jobs in Pharmacies and Drug Stores
  • 159 jobs in Offices of Dentists
  • 155 jobs in Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly
  • 73 jobs in Offices of Chiropractors
  • 70 jobs in Residential Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities
  • 59 jobs in Offices of Optometrists
  • 58 jobs in Freestanding Ambulatory Surgical and Emergency Centers

Based on occupational specialization, the labor shed has a strong workforce in the following areas:

  • 1151 Personal Care Aides
  • 1017 Nursing Assistants
  • 758 Registered Nurses
  • 504 Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
  • 292 Home Health Aides
  • 213 Pharmacy Technicians
  • 195 Medical Secretaries
  • 173 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
  • 171 Medical Assistants
  • 89 Medical and Health Services Managers
  • 78 Healthcare Social Workers
  • 65 Dental Assistants
  • 63 Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
  • 60 Nurse Practitioners

The labor shed has more jobs in the following Healthcare sectors than the US average:

  • More than 5x the US average of Respiratory Therapy Technicians
  • More than 3.5x the US average employed in Nursing Care Facilities
  • More than 3.5x the US average employed in Home Health Equipment Rental
  • More than 3x the US average employed in Family Planning Centers
  • More than 2x the US average of Dietetic Technicians
  • More than 2x the US average in Local Government Hospitals
  • More than 2x the US average of Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
  • More than 2x the US average of Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
  • More than 2x the US average of Nursing Assistants
  • More than 2x the US average in Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities
  • More than 1.5x the US average in Offices of Chiropractors
  • More than 1.5x the US average of Personal Care Assistants
  • More than 1.5x the US average of Family and General Practitioners

The labor shed has seen the following growth in Healthcare jobs over the last five years:

  • 37% growth in Home Health Equipment Rentals
  • 30% growth in Home Health Care Services
  • 16% growth in number of Personal Care Aides
  • 14% growth in Home Health Aides
  • 14% growth in Speech-Language Pathologists
  • 14% growth in Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities
  • 7% growth in Offices of Optometrists
  • 7% growth in Nurse Practitioners
  • 4% growth in Offices of Physicians
  • 4% growth in Pharmacy Technicians

Howell County is a Missouri Department of Economic Development designated Certified Work Ready Community

ACT, the college readiness assessment standardized testing company which tests high school students for admission into college (one of two such testing companies with the SAT), has initiated a national effort to certify counties as having workers with essential skills needed for industrial workplace success.  These skills include reading for information, applied mathematics, and locating information.  ACT has found these skills are required for 67% of jobs in the USA.

This ACT certification provides evidence-based facts regarding the quality and quantity of workers in our primary county, Howell County.

Low Cost Electric Power

The City of West Plains provides an average 180,000,000 kilowatt hour of electricity to its customers thru its own transmission and distribution network. This network consists of a transmission line,6 substations, a 52 MW Generation station, and over 350 miles of lines which is owned and maintained by its own Electric Department. Electricity is procured from Southwester Power Administration, Sikeston Power plant and open market sources thru the Southwestern Power Pool. Over 24% of the total electricity purchased annually is considered “Green” Energy. Average rates are:   Residential $0.083   Commercial $0.061  Industrial $0.050. Please refer to our advertised rates for specific pricing.

Link for rates:

City of West Plains is served by Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative, Inc. (HOEC). Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative, located in Marshfield, Missouri is HOEC’s transmission cooperative.

  • HOEC is owned by the members it serves; therefore, the cooperative is controlled by its’ members
  • HOEC is not profit driven; as a cooperative, it strives to keep costs of electricity low and maintain high quality of service
  • Commercial energy rates within West Plains can go as low as $.05 per kWh

Natural Gas

  • Summit Natural Gas of Missouri, a subsidiary of Summit Utilities, Inc. is the natural gas supplier to residents and businesses of West Plains, Missouri.
  • Summit Utilities Inc. maintains 20 natural gas systems and serves more than 40,000 homes and businesses in Colorado, Missouri, and Maine with clean, affordable natural gas.
  • Summit Natural Gas underground pipelines not only meet but exceed federal, state, and industry safety standards.

Water and Wastewater

  • The city provides water and wastewater management services to residents and businesses.
  • Water supply capacity is 5.2 million gallons per day
  • Peak consumption is 4 million gallons per day
  • The city’s Oxidation Ditch type water treatment plant has a current treatment capacity of 3.25 million gallons a day
  • Average daily treatment is 2.6 million gallons


Road Access

  • 4-laned Highway 63 intersects US Highway 60 in Howell County

Workforce Training

  • South Central Career Center is West Plains offers high quality workforce development programs that focus on the labor shed’s targeted industry sectors. Programs relevant to healthcare include:
    • Practical Nursing
    • Surgical Technology
  • Missouri State University – West Plains has certificate programs in Medical Coding, Electronic Health Record Specialist, Medical Office Administrative Assistant, etc.

Colleges and Universities

The 10-county labor shed has access to quality practical training and higher education programs through the following institutions:

  • Missouri State University offers undergraduate minor in Health Care Management and majors in Health Communication, Health Services, and Senior Living Management
  • Arkansas State University-Mountain Home has the following healthcare related practical training programs:
    • Registered Nursing Program (Associate level)
    • Technical Certificate Program in Practical Nursing
    • Certified Nursing Assistant Program
    • Paramedic Technology Program (Associate level)
    • Certificate in Paramedic Technology
    • Certificate of Proficiency in Emergency Medical Technician
    • Technical Certificate in Phlebotomy, Radiologic Technology, and Medical Coding
  • Texas County Technical College offers an Accelerated Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) to Registered Nursing (RN) Program
  • Ozarka College offers Health Information Technology Program in addition to LPN and RN Programs

Taxes and Business Costs

  • Missouri is one of only two states to allow companies to annually select the income allocation option they like (the three-factor formula, based on sales, property and payroll or the single-factor formula, based only on sales)
  • Income allocation options result in lower corporate income tax liability
  • Qualifying manufacturing companies can receive state sales tax exemption based on items such as machinery, energy, water, materials, etc.
  • Residential property is assessed at 19% of true market value
  • Personal property is assessed at 33.33% of true market value


The State of Missouri and the City of West Plains have implemented several different programs to assist existing businesses and attract new ones. Notable programs include tax credits, grants, exemptions, etc.

Local Incentive Information
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Tax Credits

Missouri Enhanced Enterprise Zone (MO EEZ)

West Plains features Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Missouri Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ). The EEZ incentives are tax credits and local property tax abatements designed to encourage investment and job creation by expanding or new businesses within the region. To know more about the program, click here.

Federal New Market Tax Credits (NMTC)

  • This non-traditional financing incentive is for capital investments made by businesses both for-profit and not-for-profit) as well as for the development of mixed-use, commercial, industrial and housing projects

Historic Tax Credits

  • A 25% state investment tax credit for the “certified rehabilitation” of a “certified historic structure” used for either commercial or residential purposes
  • State historic tax credit may be carried forward for up to ten years
  • Eligible projects might also qualify for 20% federal investment tax credit for up to five years

Missouri Works Program

  • This incentive tool is considered as The State of Missouri’s number one incentive tool for expansion and retention
  • In addition to providing tax credits or access to capital through withholdings, the program also helps businesses purchase equipment to maintain its facility in Missouri

Rebuilding Communities Tax Credit Program

  • Primary aim of this incentive program is to stimulate business activity in Missouri’s “distressed communities” by providing tax credits to qualifying businesses that expand or move into a distressed community
  • For more information click here.

Tax Abatement

EEZ Local Property Tax Abatement

  • Eligible Businesses in an Enhanced Enterprise Zone
  • Eligible Businesses may receive 50% property tax abatement
  • Current EEZ zoning won’t expire until 2032

Project Financing

BUILD Missouri

The BUILD Missouri Program is an incentive tool targeted at large business projects. It allows Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Development Finance Board to provide financial incentive to an eligible entity in manufacturing, processing, assembly, research and development, and agricultural processing or services. For more information on the program, click here.

Missouri Customized Training Program

  • Must create new jobs in the state or retrain existing jobs as a result of substantial capital investment
  • Through this program, up to 100% of a company’s classroom training costs can be reimbursed