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AHRQ Funded Study Finds Access to Pediatric Hospitals, Services Varies Based on Geography

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While most Americans live within a one-hour drive of a hospital that provides at least one type of pediatric care, some geographic areas have limited capacity that may saturate in times of high demand, according to a new AHRQ-funded study published in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers used the novel Health Systems and Provider Database, funded by AHRQ’s Comparative Health System Performance Initiative, to examine how quickly the nation’s 70 million infants, children and adolescents can reach an appropriate level of hospital care for life-threatening illnesses or injuries. They found that only 50 percent of Americans lived in counties within one hour of a neonatal intensive care unit, only 40 percent within an hour of a pediatric emergency facility and just 36 percent within an hour of a pediatric intensive care unit.

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