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HCUP Statistical Brief: Health System Affiliation and Characteristics of Inpatient Stays at Rural and Metropolitan Hospitals, 2016

A new Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief presents statistics on inpatient stays at rural and metropolitan hospitals affiliated and unaffiliated with health systems using the 2016 State Inpatient Databases (SID) for 47 States and the District of Columbia. Community nonrehabilitation general acute care hospitals were classified as health system affiliated or unaffiliated using data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ’s) 2016 Compendium of U.S. Health Systems. The compendium focuses on integration between hospitals and physicians (vertical integration), rather than on hospital mergers (horizontal integration). Only health systems with at least one community nonrehabilitation general acute care hospital in the Compendium that linked to a hospital in the SID are included in this analysis.

This Statistical Brief describes the distribution of general acute care hospitals and inpatient stays across U.S. health systems. Second, the percentage of hospitals and of inpatient stays at hospitals that were affiliated with a health system is shown for rural and metro areas across nine census divisions. Finally, the characteristics of stays at system-affiliated hospitals are compared with those at unaffiliated hospitals, overall and by rural/metro location of the hospital.

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