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Patients Not Hurt When Their Hospitals Close, Study Finds
Kaiser Health News

A hospital closure can send tremors through a city or town, leaving residents fearful about how they will be cared for in emergencies and serious illnesses. A study released Monday offers some comfort, finding that when hospitals shut down, death rates and other markers of quality generally do not worsen.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health examined 195 hospital closures between 2003 and 2011, looking at health experiences in the year before and the year after the hospital went out of business. Their paper, published in the journal Health Affairs, found that changes in death rates of people on Medicare — both those who had been in the hospital and among the broader populace — were no different than those for people in similar places where no hospital had closed.

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