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Study finds ER closures affect mortality risks at nearby hospitals

Kaiser Health News, August 5, 2014

Emergency patients who are admitted to the hospital are at greater risk of dying if another emergency room at a hospital nearby has closed its doors, a new study of California hospitals has found. The analysis is believed to be the first to examine the impact that emergency department closures have on the quality of patient care at other hospitals within the same service area. Six percent of the nation's emergency rooms have closed their doors in recent years, including many that serve poor inner-city and rural communities. At the same time, the number of emergency visits throughout the country has increased by 51 percent, a combination of developments that has led to more overcrowding and longer waits for care.