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How Far to the Hospital? The Effect of Hospital Closures on Access to Care

Thomas Buchmueller (), Mireille Jacobson and Cheryl Wold

No 10700, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Do urban hospital closures affect health care access or health outcomes? We study closures in Los Angeles County between 1997 and 2003, through their effect on distance to the nearest hospital. We find that increased distance to the nearest hospital shifts regular care away from emergency rooms and outpatient clinics to doctor's offices. While most residents are otherwise unaffected by closures, lower-income residents report more difficulty accessing care, working age residents are less likely to receive HIV tests, and seniors less likely to receive flu shots. We also find some evidence that increased distance raises infant mortality rates and stronger evidence that it increases deaths from unintentional injuries and heart attacks.

JEL-codes: I11 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-ure
Date: 2004-08
Note: HE
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Published as Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Jacobson, Mireille & Wold, Cheryl, 2006. "How far to the hospital?: The effect of hospital closures on access to care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 740-761, July.

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