How Far to the Hospital? The Effect of Hospital Closures on Access to Care

47 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2004 Last revised: 28 Sep 2010

See all articles by Thomas C. Buchmueller

Thomas C. Buchmueller

University of California - Paul Merage School of Business - Economics/Health Care; University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Mireille Jacobson

RAND Corporation

Cheryl Wold

Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology - Los Angeles County of Department and Health Services - Public Health

Date Written: August 2004

Abstract

Do urban hospital closures affect health care access or health outcomes? We study closures in Los Angeles County between 1997 and 2003, through their effect on distance to the nearest hospital. We find that increased distance to the nearest hospital shifts regular care away from emergency rooms and outpatient clinics to doctor's offices. While most residents are otherwise unaffected by closures, lower-income residents report more difficulty accessing care, working age residents are less likely to receive HIV tests, and seniors less likely to receive flu shots. We also find some evidence that increased distance raises infant mortality rates and stronger evidence that it increases deaths from unintentional injuries and heart attacks.

Suggested Citation

Buchmueller, Thomas C. and Jacobson, Mireille and Wold, Cheryl, How Far to the Hospital? The Effect of Hospital Closures on Access to Care (August 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10700. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=583701

Thomas C. Buchmueller (Contact Author)

University of California - Paul Merage School of Business - Economics/Health Care ( email )

Irvine, CA 92697-3125
United States

HOME PAGE: http://web.gsm.uci.edu/~tbuchmu/

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mireille Jacobson

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

Cheryl Wold

Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology - Los Angeles County of Department and Health Services - Public Health

No Address Available
United States

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