Challenges faced by rural hospitals

That is the topic of a commentary by Carroll et al. (2022) in Health Services Research. The first issue they discuss is access to care. A core challenge in rural communities is declining access to hospital care. Eight percent of rural hospitals have closed over the last decade, and closure rates have increased in recent…

VA vs. private hospitals

How do efficiently is care provided for patients at Veteran Affairs’ hospitals as compared to private hospitals? This is not an easy question to answer as the composition of patients differs between these hospitals. Even among dually-eligible individuals–those with both VA and commercial insurance–individuals treated at VA hospitals are generally more severely ill. To better…

Does hospital crowding matter?

As the rates of COVID-19 increased the burden on hospitals in the early months of the pandemic, hospitals were decry a lack of beds and pressure on staff. While COVID-19 is of course a very acute case of over-crowding, a more general question is how much does hospital crowding impact health outcomes. A paper by…

Impact of hospital closures on rural economies

Not surprisingly, the impact is significant. That is according to a study by Malone et al. (2022), estimated using a difference-in-difference design with data between 2001 and 2018. Specifically, they find: Of the 1759 nonmetro counties in our study sample, 109 experienced a hospital closure during the study period. Relative to the nonclosure counterfactual, closures…