Close smaller hospitals? Consider the consequences
Regarding the article “Invest in new hospitals? Really?” (ModernHealthcare.com, Sept. 27), it would help to leave Trump out of this discussion— and any other. Some areas do have more hospital capacity than needed today. How should that extra capacity be addressed? Closing a smaller hospital in a city can force patients into sur- viving large teaching hospitals, boosting the cost of care. Who benefits from that? And closings in rural areas can destabilize economic growth by undermining livability and discouraging new businesses. In both instances, losing the hospital can destabilize surviving physician practices. Patient access can suffer. Besides, empty beds add tiny costs since they aren’t staffed, and might be needed in the future. Without either a functioning competitive market or competent government action, we’re descending into healthcare anarchy.
Alan Sager Professor of health law, policy and management, Boston University School of Public Health