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Do Patients Bypass Rural Hospitals? Determinants of Inpatient Hospital Choice in Rural California

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Author Info

  • José J Escarce

    (UCLA)

  • Kanika Kapur

    (University College Dublin)

Abstract

Rural hospitals play a crucial role in providing healthcare to rural Americans, a vulnerable and underserved population; however, rural hospitals have faced threats to their financial viability and many have closed as a result. This paper examines the hospital characteristics that are associated with patients choosing rural hospitals, and sheds light on the types of patients who depend on rural hospitals for care and, hence, may be the most impaired by the closure of rural hospitals. Using data from California hospitals, the paper shows that patients were more likely to choose nearby hospitals, larger hospitals, and hospitals that offered more services and technologies. However, even after adjusting for these factors, patients had a propensity to bypass rural hospitals in favor of large urban hospitals. Offering additional services and technologies would increase the share of rural residents choosing rural hospitals only slightly.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/wp09%2002.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200902.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 19 Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200902

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Keywords: Rural hospitals; hospital choice; rural health;

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