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Health Aff (Millwood). 2005 Jul-Aug;24(4):1047-56.

An update on safety-net hospitals: coping with the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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  • 1Department of Health Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, USA.


Recent forces have created new financial stress for hospitals but also some relief. This paper explores hospitals' changing involvement in the safety net between 1996 and 2002. We replicate approaches used in a study of 1990-1997 and thus provide a needed update on the U.S. hospital safety net. Overall, some groups of safety-net hospitals increased uncompensated care, but others did not. Non-safety-net hospitals trimmed certain services commonly used by the indigent; this may point to future reductions in access. We examine the implications of these findings for the future of the safety net.

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