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

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas C. Buchmueller
  • Mireille Jacobson
  • Cheryl Wold

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

  • Thomas C. Buchmueller & Mireille Jacobson & Cheryl Wold, 2004. "How Far to the Hospital? The Effect of Hospital Closures on Access to Care," NBER Working Papers 10700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10700
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gabor Kezdi, 2005. "Robus Standard Error Estimation in Fixed-Effects Panel Models," Econometrics 0508018, EconWPA.
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    7. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1997:87:7:1144-1150_9 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Jacobson, Mireille & Wold, Cheryl, 2006. "How far to the hospital?: The effect of hospital closures on access to care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 740-761, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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