Patients of all economic stripes depend on safety-net hospitals for certain high-cost services, according to a study published last week by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based philanthropy.
Georgetown University Medical Center researcher Darrell Gaskin found that safety-net hospitals provide a disproportionate share of burn care, transplants and AIDS treatment to privately insured and Medicare patients, compared with other hospitals in the same community.
Safety-net hospitals predictably command a large market share of Medicaid patients. But the study shows they also have large market shares in pediatric and neonatal intensive care, and trauma and psychiatric care for patients representing all payers.
The study used 1995 data from the American Hospital Association and hospital discharge data from nine states.