When a hospital closes, local residents may worry about who will care for them when they are sick or that more people will die, but a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study published May 4, 2015 in Health Affairs found such concerns may be unfounded.

“It’s possible that we didn’t see any change in outcomes because patients instead went to nearby hospitals that had better finances and may have had more resources to provide care,” lead investigator Karen Joynt, instructor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, said May 4 in an NPR interview.

The researchers found death rates of Medicare recipients who were hospitalized or living in areas in which 195 hospitals closed to be about the same as those living in similar communities where hospitals had not closed.

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