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Can closing a hospital be good for health?

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Can the population health of an area actually improve after one of its hospitals closes?

Some researchers looked at what happened after St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York was shut.

New research published  in  HealthAffairs  and summarized by Modern Healthcare suggests that, by “broad measures of quality and access, patients collectively may be no worse off. Surprisingly, they may even be better off in some cases.”

Note that the  research only  looked at patients covered by Medicare. “That excludes the uninsured, a vulnerable population. This is a critical point because hospitals that provided more care to poor patients were more likely to close,” Modern Healthcare noted.

The before and after death rate, the cost of care, and the length of hospital stays were not significantly different before and after St. Vincent’s closed.

“There was one significant exception: Fewer patients died from heart attacks. That suggests the patients actually found better care than what was offered in the hospital that failed.”








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