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Ruhr Economic Papers #952


Anne Mensen

Concentration of hospital capacities and patients' access to care

The concentration of hospital capacities often involves closures of smaller hospital sites. While advocates of hospital concentrations emphasize increased quality of care and cost savings, some people may feel their health care is at risk. In this paper, I analyze the effect of 18 recent hospital closures in Germany on patients’ driving times and the probability to be hospitalized. Using an event study approach and rich patient-level data, I estimate the effect for individuals that are affected most by the closure, i.e., people for whom the hospital was the nearest one in their surroundings. My results show that the driving time to the nearest hospital increases slightly for the affected residents indicating that concentrations of hospital capacities do not severely jeopardize accessibility. Nevertheless, the probability to be admitted to a hospital decreases for residents who live in areas where a hospital closed, showing that the closure seems to affect patients’ care.

ISBN: 9783969731154

JEL-Klassifikation: I11, I12, I18, R41

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