The number of nonrural emergency departments declined 27% from 1990 to 2009, with a hospital more likely to close its ED if it is for-profit, a safety net hospital or has a low profit margin, according to a new study.
Safety net hospitals, for-profits likelier to close emergency departments, study finds
The study, to be published in the May 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the cumulative probability for an ED to remain open was 50% among for-profit hospitals in the study's time period, compared with 75% for other ownership types. The cumulative probability of an ED remaining open among safety net hospitals was about 50%, compared with 74% among non-safety net hospitals. Hospitals with a negative profit margin had a 50% cumulative probability of remaining open, while for others it was 75%.
The authors concluded that the findings “underscore that market-based approaches to healthcare do not ensure that care will be equitably distributed. In fact, the opposite may be true.”
The authors combined data from the American Hospital Association with information from Medicare cost reports for the study.
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