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Med Care Res Rev. 2014 Jun;71(3):243-60. doi: 10.1177/1077558713515079. Epub 2013 Dec 19.

Residential segregation and the survival of U.S. urban public hospitals.

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1University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Residential segregation is associated geographic disparities in access to care, but its impact on local health care policy, including public hospitals, is unknown. We examined the effects of racial residential segregation on U.S. urban public hospital closures from 1987 to 2007, controlling for hospital, market, and policy characteristics. We found that a high level of residential segregation moderated the protective effects of Black population composition, such that a high level of residential segregation, in combination with a high percentage of poor residents, conferred a higher likelihood of hospital closure. More segregated and poorer communities face disadvantages in access to care that may be compounded as a result of instability in the health care safety net. Policy makers should consider the influence of social factors such as residential segregation on the allocation of the safety net resources.


hospital closures and conversions; public hospitals; residential segregation; safety net

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