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Trend is opposite of acute care hospitals
Rehabilitation hospitals have increased in number during the 1990s, at the same time that the total number of hospitals has decreased, according to a recent study.
The total number of hospitals has declined by 5.1% between 1994 and 1999 to a total of 7,022. Most of those hospitals are medical/surgical hospitals, accounting for 79% of the total hospitals in the United States. The number of specialty hospitals, including rehab, have increased during this period as hospitals search for niches that will help them remain competitive and survive the financial constraints imposed by managed care and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, according to a study by SMG Marketing Group Inc. of Chicago.
Rehabilitation hospitals now comprise 3.8% of the hospital pie, which is an increase from the 3% they held in 1994.
Two statistical factors have led to the rehab industry’s increasing share of the hospital market: One, the number of rehab hospitals has increased, and two, the overall number of hospitals has decreased, leaving a specialty area like rehab with a greater percentage of the hospital pie. (See SMG chart, p. 27.)
"The interesting point is that the number of rehab hospitals themselves are increasing despite the overall change in the hospital market," says Christy Wack, product manager of the acute care team at SMG Marketing Group. "I think one reason for the increase in rehab hospitals is that we’ve become much more technologically advanced with traumas, so people who might not have survived in past years, now can, and this creates a need for rehab hospitals," she explains.
On the other hand, acute care hospitals are decreasing because of mergers and the creation of integrated health networks, Wack says.
By the end of July 1999, a little more than half of the nation’s community hospitals belonged to an integrated health care network, according to the report. The integrated health care networks or integrated delivery systems have reinvented themselves as specialty-oriented centers of excellence, the SMG report says.
They’ve carved out niches to attract large numbers of patients within the specialty market segment. In addition to rehab, those niches include psychiatric and pediatric care.
One predictable trend the report notes is that while the number of hospitals has decreased, the number of acute care admissions has increased per hospital. In 1993, the average acute care admission per hospital was 5,370. In 1999, that number rose to 5,988, an increase of 11.5%.
SMG Marketing Group also reports that the top 10 states ranked by the number of overall hospitals are, in this order: California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and Minnesota.
Need More Information?
Christy Wack, Product Manager, Acute Care Team, SMG Marketing Group Inc., 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Telephone: (312) 255-4150.