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Med Care Res Rev. 2008 Aug;65(4):478-95. doi: 10.1177/1077558708315440.

Safety-net hospitals.

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University of Illinois at Chicago.


Vulnerable populations, who have difficulty accessing the health care system, primarily receive their medical care from hospitals. Policy makers have struggled to ensure the survival of "safety-net hospitals," hospitals that provide a disproportionate share of care to these patient populations. The objective of this article is to develop measures to guide analysis and policy for urban safety-net hospitals. The authors developed three safety-net measures: the socioeconomic status of hospital service area, Medicaid intensity, and uncompensated care burden and its market share. Cluster analysis was used to identify break points that distinguish a safety-net hospital from a non-safety-net hospital. The measures developed were stable and independent, but a data-driven binary assignment of hospitals to a "safety-net" category was not supported. These analyses call into question the empirical basis for distinguishing a specific group of hospitals as safety-net hospitals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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