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U.S. Facing Dramatic Decline in Number of Emergency Departments, According to Study

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that about one-third of U.S. emergency departments closed during a 20-year period ending in 2009.

According to UC-San Francisco researchers who conducted the study, the ED closures predominately affected safety-net hospitals that see a large proportion of low-income patients.

In a California Healthline Special Report by Kelly Wilkinson, experts discussed some of the factors that likely contributed to the recent decline in EDs. The Special Report includes comments from:

  • Renee Hsia, assistant professor of emergency medicine at UC-San Francisco;
  • Sandra Schneider, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and president of the American College of Emergency Physicians; and
  • Caroline Steinberg, vice president of trends analysis at the American Hospital Association (Wilkinson, California Healthline, 6/8).

The complete transcript of this Special Report is available as a PDF.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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