Abstract: Hospital closures occurred nationally with increasing frequency between 1970 and 1990. In particular, large urban areas experienced a dramatic number of closures. Of the 61 general hospitals operating in Chicago in 1970, 22 (36%) had closed by 1991. While a growing body of literature has examined the etiology and determinants of hospital closure over the last two decades, few empirical studies have focused on the neighborhood correlates of closure, and none have examined specific health outcomes associated with hospital failure. This study uses census and Chicago hospital closure data to compare and contrast different conceptual explanations of closure in an effort to identify neighborhood correlates and health outcomes associated with hospital failure. The authors find that hospital closures in Chicago diminished an already low hospital bed-to population ratio and may have contributed to a deterioration of critical health status measures in disadvantaged African American neighborhoods.

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