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Serving the Uninsured: Safety-Net Hospitals, 2003

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HCUP Fact Book No. 8

To help fulfill its mission of providing information on the U.S. health care system, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) develops and sponsors databases that include the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). Through HCUP, AHRQ has taken a lead in developing databases, software tools, and statistical reports to inform policymakers, health system leaders, and researchers at the Federal, regional, and State levels.

This Fact Book presents a detailed examination of hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of uninsured patients and are often the only source of health care for millions of Americans. Information is presented on the financial status of these "safety-net" hospitals and the clinical characteristics of the patients they serve.

Select to download the print version of the Fact Book: PDF File, 840 KB. PDF Help.

By Roxanne M. Andrews, Ph.D.; Donald E. Stull, Ph.D.; Irene Fraser, Ph.D.; Bernard Friedman, Ph.D.; Robert L. Houchens, Ph.D.


Executive Summary
     Overview: Safety-net hospitals provide a critical point of access for the uninsured
Part I: Hospital Structural and Geographic Characteristics
     Safety-net hospitals span all locations, sizes, and ownership groups
     Safety-net hospitals are more likely to be public hospitals
Part II: Hospital Financial Status
     Safety-net hospitals are financially vulnerable
     Public safety-net hospitals fare worse financially than other safety-net hospitals
     Uninsured patients in public safety-net hospitals have greater resource needs
     Rural safety-net hospitals are especially vulnerable
     Financial status of teaching safety-net hospitals is mixed
Part III: Patient Clinical Characteristics
     Safety-net hospitals admit fewer patients for specialized surgery and more for alcohol and mental health services
     Safety-net hospitals have patients with resource needs similar to those of patients in non-safety-net hospitals
Source of Data for This Report
For More Information
Appendix: AHRQ Safety-Net Initiatives

AHRQ Publication No. 07-0006
Current as of January 2007


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