Urban Hospitals Under Stress, 1993 Study Finds

Report on the status of public hospitals in major cities

The National Public Health and Hospital Institute in Washington examined the current status of large urban hospitals and the impact on them as a result of recent changes in the U.S. health care system.

One purpose of the study was to bring up to date a study published in 1978 by the Commission on Public General Hospitals that detailed the status of large, urban hospitals at that time.

The investigators gathered data on 851 hospitals in the 100 largest US cities. Investigators also expanded their data collection to include information from national, public sources on the number of female-headed families, children in poverty, and foreign-born populations.

Key Findings

  • In a report to RWJF, investigators noted the following findings:

    • The urban environment changed from 1980 to 1990 in ways likely to increase the burden on public hospitals.
    • In the 1980s, urban hospitals witnessed a shift away from patients with private health insurance and toward low-income patients (either uninsured or covered by Medicaid).

Investigators disseminated findings in Urban Social Health: A Chartbook Profiling the Nation's 100 Largest Cities (1995), published under a subsequent RWJF grant (see Program Results Report on ID# 022724).

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