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Inner-city hospitals: a call for research.

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Department of Health Administration, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, MO 63108, USA.


Inner-city hospitals serve as safety nets for poor and underserved populations. They cope with serious issues of uncompensated care, aging facilities, and inadequate reimbursement. Yet, little research exists on their needs and problems. The authors argue that research on inner-city institutions is necessary to obtain "policy" attention, legitimize demand for resources, reframe inner-city health issues as a delivery problem, and gain insights on better ways to manage inner-city hospitals. They provide data-based illustrations of future research questions related to issues of inefficiency, overstaffing, case severity, and facility renovation that can contribute to better policymaking on inner-city hospitals. The authors recognize systemic barriers to research including the unpopularity of access issues, lack of data, and absence of input from practitioners working in inner-city institutions. To remove such barriers, they suggest creation of a representative forum, original databases, increased linkage with research and policy agencies, and increased cooperation between inner-city professionals and researchers.

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