Media report that hospitals are closing their emergency departments (EDs) and reducing access to ED services, raising concerns that EDs are not sustainable under competition and managed care. The authors analyzed financial, economic, capacity, and utilization data for California EDs for 1990-2001. The authors found that contrary to media reports, hospitals are not abandoning the ED market. Rather, our results show a robust market, where hospitals are adding ED capacity to meet increased demand and to maintain access. Supporting economic analyses show that EDs are sustainable since they generate a sizable and growing portion of inpatient admissions, which contribute to overall economic viability.
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