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      Redistribution of Emergency Department Patients After Disaster-Related Closures of a Public Versus Private Hospital in New York City.

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          Abstract

          Sudden hospital closures displace patients from usual sources of care and force them to access facilities that lack their prior medical records. For patients with complex needs and for nearby hospitals already strained by high volume, disaster-related hospital closures induce a public health emergency. Our objective was to analyze responses of patients from public versus private emergency departments after closure of their usual hospital after Hurricane Sandy. Using a statewide database of emergency visits, we followed patients with an established pattern of accessing 1 of 2 hospitals that closed after Hurricane Sandy: Bellevue Hospital Center and NYU Langone Medical Center. We determined how these patients redistributed for emergency care after the storm. We found that proximity strongly predicted patient redistribution to nearby open hospitals. However, for patients from the closed public hospital, this redistribution was also influenced by hospital ownership, because patients redistributed to other public hospitals at rates higher than expected by proximity alone. This differential response to hospital closures demonstrates significant differences in how public and private patients respond to changes in health care access during disasters. Public health response must consider these differences to meet the needs of all patients affected by disasters and other public health emergencies.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Disaster Med Public Health Prep
          Disaster medicine and public health preparedness
          Cambridge University Press (CUP)
          1938-744X
          1935-7893
          Jun 2015
          : 9
          : 3
          Affiliations
          [1 ] 1Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine,New York University School of Medicine.
          [2 ] 4Department of Emergency Medicine,Kimmel School of Medicine,Thomas Jefferson University,and Emergency Care Coordination Center,Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response,Department of Health & Human Services.
          [3 ] 3Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics,University of Pennsylvania.
          Article
          S1935789315000117
          10.1017/dmp.2015.11
          25777992
          474c316b-bdb2-448a-b1c0-3f2e3cebd806

          emergency medicine,hurricane,public health,surge capacity,disaster medicine

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