A study done by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that death rates and other quality indicators usually do not worsen in an area where a hospital has shut down.
The study found that some people become inconvenienced and have to travel further as a result of closures. But that didn’t have a significant impact on hospital admittance rates, length of stay or cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries.
The trend driving the shuttering of hospitals, the study showed, was financial insecurity. The study also showed 70 percent of hospital closures took place in urban areas as opposed to rural areas. Because rural hospital closures can be harder to overcome, especially if there is only one hospital serving a region, Medicare pays those hospitals more.