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Inquiry. 1984 Summer;21(2):113-27.

What's so special about special care?


Special care units are the most advanced, intensive, technological, and costly of hospital services. They also have proliferated rapidly. Yet little is understood about the definition, prevalence, genesis, costs, or benefits of SCUs. This paper defines and examines the many forces that have promoted the growth of special care, including hospital cost containment policies, fee-for-service reimbursement, medical ethics, standards of care, and manpower, and the much less numerous forces that have inhibited its spread. It is concluded that a sound appreciation of the dynamics of SCUs will be crucial to guiding future policy decisions as the nation's population ages and as hospitals continue to improve their capability to care for critically ill patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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