Safety Net Hospitals And The United States Health Care System

903 Words4 Pages
Safety net hospitals have played an important role in the United States health care system. They provide a significant amount of care to low-income, uninsured, and vulnerable populations. While treating these types of populations, they are still able to provide high cost services such as trauma and burn care. They often take on additional roles and responsibilities such as the training of medical and nursing students (Coughlin et al., 2014). These hospital systems are well known for their open door policy (Wynn et al., 2002). They will examine and treat all individuals, whether or not they can pay for any of their services. The hospitals are not distinguished from other providers by ownership. Some are publicly owned and operated by local or state governments, while others are non-profit. However, they are distinguished by their commitment to provide access to care for all individuals with limited or no access to health care due to their finical circumstances, insurance status or health condition (What is a Safety Net Hospital, 2015). Due to safety net hospitals urban locations, they tend to treat more uninsured patients who will frequently show up in the emergency room. Even if their care is not critical or an emergency, these patients cannot be turned away. A study performed by an urban institute estimated that the costs of uncompensated care to these hospitals were as high as forty-five billion dollars in 2013. Government programs will help with approximately 65% of
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