- Hospital closures have a major long-term impact on patient stress and access to care, says a study published in Health Affairs.
- Between October 2011 and January 2012, researchers interviewed 23 employees at hospital obstetric units in Philadelphia County that remained open between 1997 and 2012, a period when 13 of 19 obstetric units closed, to determine the effect of the closures on their operations.
- Employees from the hospitals that stayed open reported adopting a number of strategies, such as innovative staffing models, to cope with the added demand brought about by the closure of nearby obstetric units.
Times are tough for our nation's hospitals, and not just the ones forced to close their doors. While employees from hospitals that stayed open believed that inter-hospital communication could mitigate the stress of closures on the healthcare system, when there is too much demand for hospital care, it takes a toll on patients and their families.
The study sheds light on the need for policy makers to anticipate reductions in supply and monitor patient outcomes.
That said, some healthcare leaders believe that there are too many hospitals already, and that competition will force the existing ones to step up their focus on quality.