In Texas, admissions to specialty hospitals grew at twice the rate as admissions to general acute-care hospitals between 2000 and 2004, according to a draft report prepared for the Texas Department of State Health Services. General hospitals saw a notable decline in operating margins during that period, according to the report, but it did not find that the presence of specialty hospitals was to blame. The report, prepared by Mathematica Policy Research and the Center for Studying Health System Change, concluded that physician dissatisfaction with existing general hospitals, rather than financial motivation, was fueling interest in specialty hospitals. The department defines specialty or -- in its language -- niche hospitals as those that focus on no more than two diagnosis-related groups and are owned by physicians or corporations. Average admissions to specialty hospitals in Texas rose 12.7% from 2000 to 2004, and their average number of inpatient surgeries climbed 11.6%. That compared with 6% and less than 4%, respectively, at general acute-care hospitals, according to the draft report. A final report is due to the state Legislature by Dec. 1. -- by Jessica Zigmond
Texas two-step - Specialty hospitals admit more: report
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